The Gospel Coalition Asks “Why Do Churches Wound Their Pastors?”

"The implication is clear: No church should expect its pastor(s) to excel in the prophetic, kingly, and priestly aspects of godly leadership."

Dan Doriani

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=35659&picture=sad-man-in-the-shadowsSad Man in the Shadows

Yesterday Dee Tweeted out the title of a post published on The Gospel Coalition website — Why Do Churches Wound Their Pastors?

My initial thought was: who, by and large, will be reading this article – pastors/seminarians or lay people? As I write this post, only one person has commented.

UPDATE (5/25/17, 10:15 p.m.) There are now FIVE comments under TGC's post referenced above, and they are all affirming of Doriani's points.

UPDATE (5/28/17, 9:30 a.m.) There are now TEN comments under the post. Has anyone noticed the advertisements that are appearing in the comments section of TGC posts?

TGC's post Why Do Churches Wound Their Pastors? was authored by Dan Doriani, who serves as a Council Member for The Gospel Coalition. According to his bio:

Dan Doriani serves as vice president of strategic academic projects and professor of theology and ethics at Covenant Theological Seminary. He previously served as senior pastor of Central Presbyterian Church in Clayton, Missouri.

Dan Doriani became a Council Member in July 2014. Several months earlier (May 21, 2014), The Gospel Coalition announced that Council Members C.J. Mahaney and Joshua Harris had resigned from the Council.

Doriani has written on a variety of topics, and I am wondering what may have prompted him to write this one. According to his article, Doriani believes there are five causes of pastoral criticism. Here are the first four (see screen shot below)

* * * * * * *

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-do-churches-wound-their-pastors

* * * * * * *

Then he names the fifth one and explains that he will focus much of his attention on this one.

* * * * * * *

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-do-churches-wound-their-pastors

* * * * * * *

Before I hone in on these five points, I must say that I am perplexed by this seminary professor's reference to Niccolò Machiavelli. When someone quotes Machiavelli, it is usually not done in a favorable light. Here is a short video that provides a brief overview of this Italian political philosopher.

Not only that, here are several quotes from what is perhaps Machiavelli's best known work The Prince.

“It is much safer to be feared than loved because …love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.”

“Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.”

“Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.”

Again, I am not sure why there was any reference to Niccolò Machiavelli in Doriani's post because most of the commentaries I have read about Machiavelli are not complimentary.

Now let's take a look at the five causes of criticism that lead to the wounding of a pastor, according to Don Doriani.

The first one was quite cynical – that congregants will deliberately lie, deceive, and manipulate in order to gain control by destroying a pastor. The second and third points are hardly worth discussing.

The fourth point – resistance to change by congregants, although a pastor believes there is a need for reform – has some merit, but I believe the reference to Machiavelli did not help Doriani's point.

Finally, who could argue with the fifth (and most important) point – that all pastors are sinners and that they may lack certain skills and abilities to lead well? We absolutely agree with Doriani because we have written numerous posts reminding our readers that although pastors attempt to shepherd their flocks, they too are human and capable of sinning just as much as their congregants.

Doriani then writes:

Consider that God ordained three ongoing offices for Israel: prophet, priest, and king. None but Jesus held all three offices. Few had even two: Melchizedek was priest and king, Moses was a prophet and kingly leader, and David was king and prophet, at least informally, through his psalms. Even if we add a few more dual-role leaders, almost no one had two offices and no one but Jesus had all three.

The implication is clear: No church should expect its pastor(s) to excel in the prophetic, kingly, and priestly aspects of godly leadership. No one is equally gifted and passionate about the prophetic (teaching and preaching), the kingly (leading and organizing), and the priestly (shepherding and prayer). Even if a pastor were capable in every area, he’ll find one exhilarating, the other exhausting.

He concludes that there is a Better Way

Doriani wonders why congregations criticize their pastors for not being perfect because after all, Jesus was the only perfect one… 

He goes on to ask why churches idolize their pastors one day and criticize/condemn them the next. He then makes this interesting statement:

"Americans can’t bear disappointment in silence, and all too often, we behave more like Americans than disciples."

This immediately brings to mind those infamous words of Mark Driscoll: "Shut up and do what you're told."

We have seen in recent church history that silence is definitely NOT golden! Is that what Doriani is advocating???

Not surprisingly, Doriani ends the post quoting those verses from Hebrews that Calvinista pastors (such as C.J. Mahaney) are so fond of quoting: 

“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. . . . Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls. . . . Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Heb. 13:7, 17). 

It appears that these are the takeaways from the post:

– Your pastor isn't perfect, so suck it up.

– Silence is golden (when it comes to criticizing your pastor).

– Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls…

Thoughts?

Comments

The Gospel Coalition Asks “Why Do Churches Wound Their Pastors?” — 270 Comments

  1. The pastor at the church where I left in protest, he intimidated and marginalized anyone with a different point of view. He also recently retired, embittered and with few friends. Was he also wounded? Yes, but it was self inflicted.

  2. “Further, no pastor has all the skills to lead well.”
    Maybe he should focus on being a servant instead.

  3. What if the pastor is a wolf?
    Acts 20:29 – “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.”

  4. I left my home church due to:

    1. Vicious lay leader who interrupted, disrespected, ostracized, and gossiped about anyone who wasn’t Dispensationalist, even though the church had no official stance on eschatological viewpoints. Oh, and even though he was a wealthy professional, he took thousands of dollars from the benevolence fund at the same time that needy single mothers were turned away.

    2. The pastor who believed that divorce didn’t solve any problems. I invited him to hear the stories from women in his church who were domestic violence victims, but he refused to visit our church’s support group — even once. I know some Christians don’t see abuse as biblical grounds for divorce, but to have no compassion on women who were being beaten was cold and cruel, and frankly a way of telling the women to shut up.

    So I and several others picked up, took our friends and family members, and went to another church.

    Tip: Don’t try to change a church. (Many of us have tried.) Just vote with your feet. You can’t fix an institution; but God holds you responsible for protecting your family’s emotional and spiritual health from cold and vicious leaders.

  5. Janey wrote:

    Tip: Don’t try to change a church. (Many of us have tried.) Just vote with your feet. You can’t fix an institution;

    Three years later I still occasionally ponder if I should have continued and fought the good fight. After honest reflection, I always end up back with your recommendation.

  6. Third, a pastor pays for the errors of his subordinates.

    Doriani’s usage of the word “subordinate” is quite telling. I believe this is how these New Calvinist pastors view everyone else in the church, i.e. as underlings and beneath them. Arrogance – one of the hallmark traits of these Calvinista pastors.

  7. It’s a short and incomplete article on a complex subject but I think overall he did a great job summarizing some great points. Even though you don’t like TGC I don’t think this is anything to get worked up about.

  8. @ Deb:
    Yep. Sick ’em!

    I have seen Machiavelli mentioned in another TGC article. They are confirming my already strong suspicion that TGC is teemining with Machiavellians.

  9. Jimmy wrote:

    It’s a short and incomplete article

    It’s a totally unbiblical article to try to get pew sitters to sit down and shut up. Aside from that, he did a great job.

  10. Jimmy wrote:

    It’s a short and incomplete article on a complex subject but I think overall he did a great job summarizing some great points. Even though you don’t like TGC I don’t think this is anything to get worked up about.

    NeoCalvinists are on a search and destroy mission of American churches. With their false Gospel, authoritarianism, Patriarchy, and spiritual abuse record numbers of devoted Christians have “had it” and have left the institutional church. The Southern Baptist denomination alone is losing a whopping 200,000 living members a year.

    That’s a lot to get worked up about.

    So is false teaching.

  11. Ì always thought/assumed that PROTESTants by definition protested. The earliest ones did NOT stay silent – they spoke up about abuses in the church, they posted their grievances publically to church doors – 16th century version of posting at twitter and facebook and blogging?! All – lay people as well as clergy – were considered to be equal before God. But ìf the SBC no longer believes in ‘the priesthood of all believers’ . . .

  12. Looking at the church which I left I watched three successive pastors be chewed to bits by a minority of the pew persons until even the denominational hierarchy could not solve the problem. I know from experience in that church that some of what the author stated in his article is accurate as to what can and does happen sometimes in churches.

    Looking at my current parish (a different denomination) which is surviving through thick and thin and has grown under new leadership and new direction which has managed to snatch a dwindling church away from its downward trend and turn it completely around, amidst all that it is perfectly obvious that the leadership has had to cope with circumstances # 1, 2, 4 and 5 as listed in the article.

    I have huge admiration for all that has been done that has enabled this parish to survive and grow in the face of it all. And we all, staff and congregants, have persevered in the face of our own individual issues and problems and disasters.

    So, based on my former church (UMC) and my current parish (TEC) I have to emphasize that as much as people may dislike the Reformed churches, this is not a problem which is confined to them. It would be inaccurate to assume that it is a problem limited to only the Reformed among us. Not by a long shot.

  13. Velour wrote:

    That’s a lot to get worked up about.
    So is false teaching.

    Velour, yes, and it’s clear that TGC denies the New Birth (being born again). The question should be: “Why is TGC spiritually killing people?” (keeping them away from the biblical Jesus?). That would be nearer to the truth, TGC being a proponent of a false gospel, through and through. They have all the marks of a cult, don’t they?

  14. I’m intrigued by this notion the new pastor has to change the works. In one of my shows, doing sweeping changes sent the clear message that “things are going to be different here on out” because “I’m the new leader here on out, the guy I’m replacing isn’t going to come back.” It may also serve to affirm one’s authority over a specific region, “this is my kingdom, these are my rules.”
    A church of mine that I left a few years ago recently hired a freshly graduated pastor from a conservative seminary. He’s begun taking an old, laid-back Southern Baptist church and pushing it toward Neo-Calvinism. It’s begun using TGC materials, it’s done sermon series on biblical leadership, biblical membership, and it’s no longer the same church it was because of this.
    Was it’s former pastor wounded? No, he retired from the ministry to pursue a fulfilling personal hobby. Everything was on pretty great terms. But this new pastor might find himself wounded when people are reluctant to get on board with the sweeping changes he feels is necessary. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” They say, when he says: “Time for a renovation – rip out the works, lay a new foundation …”

  15. In my old church we had a pastor and three elders. The pastor would say of them that one would agree to anything, one wanted to throw everyone out of the church, and the third was as “daft as a brush”. The church thrived because they and the members had a common goal of spreading the Gospel. Everything was discussed, everything agreed in spite of differences. We were part of the priesthood of all believers. The church is not a business and it doesn’t run on systems. Yes, every denomination has its own theological standpoint but within the local church you get a cross section of society. and each individual uses his talents and abilities to further the cause of Christ. If you see the person sitting in front of the pulpit or next you in the pew as anything other than a brother or sister in Christ, you will have the problems Mr Doriani seems to be addressing. So his points largely miss the point and betray a defective view of the church.
    1. We have been told to expect wolves trying to devour the flock
    2. The church worships and prays, it doesn’t negotiate. We don’t sit in a boardroom.
    3. The church is not made up of subordinates and staff members
    4. The pastor has been appointed by the church so he should have been in agreement with its principles and vision before taking up the position. If he wasn’t in agreement, he shouldn’t have taken the job.
    5.if the pastor sins he should seek forgiveness like everyone else in front of the church. He is to feed the flock, not lead it.
    Finally his closing statements about churches criticising their pastors for not being perfect is risible and betrays an arrogance that puts the pastor on a pedestal as if he were above criticism and devalues the worth of every church member.

  16. Boston Lady wrote:

    The question should be: “Why is TGC spiritually killing people?” (keeping them away from the biblical Jesus?). That would be nearer to the truth, TGC being a proponent of a false gospel, through and through. They have all the marks of a cult, don’t they?

    Yes, TGC has the marks of a cult.

  17. Interesting post; I was an elder in a first among equals eldership that is a feature of many Neo-cal churches, though I would not have considered our church Neo-cal.

    Are people sometimes unfair in their comments to pastoral leadership? Yes–part and parcel of interacting with humanity. Because it was a smaller church (less than 200 members) we made it a practice to meet with those with concerns and complaints one-on-one. It is amazing how a culture of listening to those with concerns, giving them face-time rather than passive-aggressively speaking to or at them in sermons can deescalate conflict. There were times, with one individual in particular, I told him his complaints were valid and understood–but that we simply lacked the capacity as elders to be who he wanted us to be; but we were committed to being the best we could be with God’s help. He understood and stayed with the church until his death.

    One of the things that helped us as elders, I think, is that several of us had leadership experience in the military. Leadership schools in the military look at dissent in a surprisingly different way than typical church leadership. In the military troops complaining is considered a somewhat healthy part of normal life. The time to be concerned is when everyone goes silent; that is when you need to watch your back as a leader and when unit discipline is about to go south.

    Leadership has to be based on earned trust–too many churches purport to lead based on a positional authority rather than earned trust. To earn trust, one must be committed to ongoing conversation with those being led. There is too much emphasis in today’s church growth movements, and by observation and personal experience, in the Neo-cal movements such as 9 Marks and SGM, on positional authority and empire building. A sense that the goal of the pastor is to have people committed to his personal vision for the church. I think Paul expressed the vision that should be primary for all pastors and leadership teams–I will do my best to express his vision in the Scripture passage where Paul said he labored in prayer to see Christ formed in His people. If a pastor’s vision is different than this, he is pursuing a business model rather than a biblical model of leadership. I think empire-building on the part of these church movements is actually destroying the witness of the church and doing much harm to the weaker among us that Scripture so clearly tells us to care for.

    But I have hope that as we get smaller and smaller, Jesus will once again be the central, and only, focus of the church…

  18. Cousin of Eutychus wrote:

    One of the things that helped us as elders, I think, is that several of us had leadership experience in the military. Leadership schools in the military look at dissent in a surprisingly different way than typical church leadership. In the military troops complaining is considered a somewhat healthy part of normal life. The time to be concerned is when everyone goes silent; that is when you need to watch your back as a leader and when unit discipline is about to go south.

    Very interesting insight. I am glad for your military experience which helped you as a church elder.

  19. Want to see something really interesting? Do a Google search on “Gospel Coalition Machiavelli”. It will ring some major alarm bells.

  20. Cousin of Eutychus wrote:

    I think Paul expressed the vision that should be primary for all pastors and leadership teams–I will do my best to express his vision in the Scripture passage where Paul said he labored in prayer to see Christ formed in His people. If a pastor’s vision is different than this, he is pursuing a business model rather than a biblical model of leadership.

    I do not think there is a “biblical model of leadership”. It’s antithesis to everything Christ said about ministry. There are only servants.

    And if there are only servants, then it doesn’t really matter if people are upset with them. It doesn’t matter if they are asked to step down. It doesn’t matter if they have a “vision” to change things. They are not in charge.

  21. Argh,do these pastors ever let up on being catered to? The church does not revolve around the feelings of the pastor. It’s not the pastor’s responsibility to bring change to the church.
    The usage of, “subordinates”,says it all.We are not all equal in this man’s church, there are layers of hierarchy in his command. The pew seater is the most problematic, they might actual have a POV, differing from that of the management.

  22. okrapod wrote:

    Looking at the church which I left I watched three successive pastors be chewed to bits by a minority of the pew persons until even the denominational hierarchy could not solve the problem. I know from experience in that church that some of what the author stated in his article is accurate as to what can and does happen sometimes in churches.

    I agree. Sometimes pastors (and their wives) get treated like garbage, and that’s a genuine problem. I think TGC’s problem here is their regular banging of the drum on stuff like this while ignoring the other side: the abuse of the flock. It looks completely self-serving, even if that wasn’t an individual author’s intention.

  23. Machiavelli also said you should get rid of all your enemies children and extended family. I don’t think Jesus called us to take our church lessons from Machiavelli. Are they teaching that in seminary?

    His second and third points seem like completely legitimate reasons to challenge your pastor.

  24. The whole king and priest thing really gets me. That is old testament stuff and we are under a new covenant. You NEVER hear these guys talking about dying to self putting others first. Jesus said my kingdom is not of this world and He emphasizes laying ones life down for one another, serving one another in love, worshiping Him in Spirit and in Truth. In my experience and observation these young pastors only really serve themselves and the ideology that set them up in their little kingdom and when it does not work out the way the play book says it should they get mad at the very people they are there to serve and then they get deeper in petting themselves rather then reading there bibles for themselves BEGGING God to teach them His ways. They seem to be rather thick headed and unteachable relying on others ideas rather then learning to search out a matter for themselves. Is it any wonder why so many people are giving up on organized churches that have become a little kingdom rather then a loving body?

  25. I realize Machiavelli has a lot of hay to sort through… but those quotes have a ring of truth to them as they sit by themselves.

    Good find.

  26. hoodaticus wrote:

    Philosophical question: can you call yourself a Protestant if you don’t believe in Sola Scriptura, as the legalists described in the OP clearly do not?

    Yes. Of course.

    Are Methodists protestant? Are Anglicans including Episcopalians protestant? We are, and we do not believe in sola scriptura. I did not believe in sola scriptura even when I was a Baptist, but I feel much more comfortable now that I have found similarly minded people with whom to align myself. Would the Calvinists be good with that? Nope.

    And to further complicate things, we Anglo-Catholic Episcopalians also think that you can be catholic without being Catholic. Would the Roman Catholics be good with that? Nope.

    We believe prima scriptura and then also recognize the place for both reason and tradition. Methodists are protestants, but they believe ‘prima scriptura’ like we do, except that Wesley added ‘experience’ also to reason and tradition.

    So, yes, a significant number of protestants do not subscribe to sola scriptura. IMO there are also a lot of protestants who claim to believe sola scriptura but what they actually mean is something quite different when it comes to the application of scripture.

    The moral of the story is: other people’s paradigms and definitions and rules do not apply to generic you unless you let them. Generic ‘they’ are not the boss of generic ‘you’. There is no need to accept other people’s ideas much less their definitions based merely and solely on their say so.

  27.  

    From my experience at a couple of churches (including my current one).

    1 – yep, happens a lot. Sometimes from congregants, sometimes from elders, and sometimes from other staff members. I’m willing to give people the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe they didn’t intend to lie, but were just misinformed. But that still doesn’t excuse them from talking to everyone except us or from actively and secretly campaigning against us. Seriously, just come talk to us.
    2 – We’ve had plenty of people disagree with us theologically, but that’s never stopped us from working well together. Love covers a multitude of opinions. But we’re also not combative. This seems like maybe a personality issue, unless theological opinions are just an excuse to do #1 or 4.
    3 – When I think of major sin in the church I think of manipulation, duplicitousness, authoritativeness, and gossip. Yes, I have seen elders, other staff members, and lay leaders do all of those and the church has suffered or we have left. But I don’t think that’s the stuff other people would call major sin.
    4 – Machiavelli is not the person a Christian should emulate. When new eyes look at an organization they will see things that could be done more efficiently, things done superbly, and things that are destructive. If the preacher calls out the sinful attitudes in the culture of the church (cliques, control issues, racism, nationalism, secrecy, etc.) there will be people who are offended and actively push back.
    5 – Ha, the current complaint against us is that they didn’t think the preacher’s jokes were funny and that he should tell more stories. There is a feeling that we must be all things to all people or that we are held to a higher standard. Calling out sin is a must for everyone – though it can be unpleasant. But if you’re just disappointed? (as in you don’t like the preaching style, the way VBS is done, the arrangement of the chairs, etc.) That probably doesn’t need to be aired out.

    No doubt some preachers and pastors are wolves. Some are immature. Some have been burned and have grown bitter and hurtful. But there are some who do take their job seriously and see their position and authority as a grave responsibility and expect to be judged more harshly for it. It’s not a terrible article.rrangement of the chairs, etc.) That probably doesn't need to be aired out. No doubt some preachers and pastors are wolves. Some are immature. Some have been burned and have grown bitter and hurtful. But there are some who do take their job seriously and see their position and authority as a grave responsibility and expect to be judged more harshly for it. It's not a terrible article.

  28. okrapod wrote:

    So, yes, a significant number of protestants do not subscribe to sola scriptura. IMO there are also a lot of protestants who claim to believe sola scriptura but what they actually mean is something quite different when it comes to the application of scripture.

    Indeed. The Calvinistas will talk about being dedicated to Sola Scriptura quite a bit. But then they ignore large swaths of Scripture, including most of the gospels. Claiming to uphold it really doesn’t mean much to me.

  29. Darlene wrote:

    Doriani’s usage of the word “subordinate” is quite telling.

    Maybe it’s because of this blog and others, or because I just finished The Keepers, but I can’t see this as anything but an attempt to excuse pastors who give a free pass to abuse.

    My ‘subordinate’ did this terrible thing and the church is blaming ME! How dare they!

    They want to be in charge and ‘kings’ (which is not in the pastor job description imo) but they don’t want to be held responsible for anything. And if they shuffle someone around or refuse to let them go and they harm more children, it’s not their fault.

  30. ishy wrote:

    And if there are only servants, then it doesn’t really matter if people are upset with them. It doesn’t matter if they are asked to step down.

    That’s a pretty cold way of looking at brothers and sisters in Christ. It hurts when people are upset with me. Read 2 Corinthians or Galatians and tell me Paul wasn’t hurt by they way those churches were treating him. Jesus was hurt by the way people treated him – Jesus even lashed out at the people trying to derail his ministry (so did Paul). And yeah, when your life is devoted to the church and ministering to the people of God, and those same people tell you to step down, that is very disheartening and potentially traumatic. It doesn’t matter if you volunteer or are paid, it is hurtful when your brothers and sisters in Christ ask you to leave.

  31. I’m not surprised that Doriani quotes Machiavelli. Reformed theology is more philosophy than Gospel. It is a particular system of philosophical thought based on Calvin’s interpretation of Scripture, intended to ensnare the mind but not feed the Spirit.

    I suspect that many a young reformer has the following Machiavelli quote stuck on their refrigerator “Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.” Authoritarian shepherds control, manipulate, and intimidate … rather than love their flock.

  32. Cousin of Eutychus wrote:

    In the military troops complaining is considered a somewhat healthy part of normal life. The time to be concerned is when everyone goes silent; that is when you need to watch your back as a leader

    We have heard a number of people in ministry complain that they had no idea people didn’t like them, or their policies, until something happened and it was already too far gone to fix. I think the culture of ‘don’t complain’ is partly responsible for that. If you feel like you can complain and are heard, that solves a number of issues and if the leadership actually listens and realizes that they don’t always know everything that solves some other ones.

    Also, one of the things recommended to help you prevent ‘groupthink’ and make better decisions in business school is a culture where people can openly express problems and issues and potential solutions.

  33. Nancy2 wrote:

    What if the pastor is a wolf?

    “And from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore be alert!” (Acts 20:30-31)

    New Calvinism is twisted belief and practice.

  34. ishy wrote:

    Gospel Coalition Machiavelli

    Wow, ishy! Not only do they quote him a lot, but there is also a whole blog called ‘a crash course on the influencers of unbelief’ in which they say:

    Who were Machiavelli’s allies and to whom did he direct his philosophy?
    Machiavelli wrote for and was supported by lukewarm Christians who loved their earthly fatherland more than heaven, Caesar more than Christ, social success more than virtue.

  35. The professional pulpit just won’t accept that there are those in the pew with more spiritual sense than themselves. Such sheep are always on the alert for wolves … and if it happens to be the shepherd, they will nip his behind!

    This whole matter (an American church out of control) could be laid to rest if only church leaders would devote themselves to study of the Word and prayer … rather than endeavoring to squeeze the spiritual life out of the pew. We need more men of God in the pulpit, rather than preacher boys. In the meantime, watchmen in the pew are forced to wound (correct and rebuke) their pastors if need be.

  36. Lea wrote:

    We have heard a number of people in ministry complain that they had no idea people didn’t like them, or their policies, until something happened and it was already too far gone to fix. I think the culture of ‘don’t complain’ is partly responsible for that. If you feel like you can complain and are heard, that solves a number of issues and if the leadership actually listens and realizes that they don’t always know everything that solves some other ones.

    Agreed. Though it’s not always that people don’t complain, it’s that they don’t complain to the appropriate people. Again, if you have a problem with me, tell me. Don’t tell everyone except me.

  37. Ishy, point well taken–biblical leadership is servant leadership. I was glad to be unpaid; getting fired as an elder would have given me free time and release from responsibility. Ideally, the church would not be in the hands of a professional class–freely give and receive is liberating.

    @ ishy:

  38. Awesome post, Deb! Loved the history lesson. Great pickup on the Machiavelli quote. It’s a bit scary when TGC takes to quoting him!

    And then, the old “prophet priest and king” examples. Remember who was into that one? Our gone, and now resurrected, pastor, Mark Driscoll. Who could ever forget King Sutton? Look how that turned out.

    I am now involved in a church in which my pastors are loving to the people, can do a bang up sermon, and function as good administrators of the church. You can be sure I had observed them closely for close to two years before joining, and since that time. Believe it or not, it is possible.

    The younger of the two pastor was called to serve as the lead pastor in a congregation in a pleasant locale. I was sad to hear of it. I assumed that he would choose the position since it most likely offered more money, prestige etc. Well, I just about dropped my jaw when I heard that, after praying for two months, he turned it down to stay put in our church!

    So, it is possible to have a couple of pastors who do it all well. They key here is the size and the willingness to delegate. My church is not a mega church. As you know, it is good size for our area-@700. Most people in the church choose to help out in all sorts of areas.

    But, the pastors are still around for it all. After each serve, the pastors stand at the doors, shaking hands, inquiring after each person, they show up to the midweek dinners, and many of the activities. They are not running around giving conferences, writing books, etc.

    Perhaps the most telling comment came from the older of the two pastors. During Holy Week, I remarked that he must be quite tired with all the services, etc. He told me that it is his favorite week of the year, while wearing a big smile on his face late one evening after a service.

    It took me awhile to find this church but I am so grateful that I did.

    TGC seems to be involved in creating a low expectation for pastors in their tribe. I think it is because they want to have it all-mega churches with celebrity pastors who write books, give talks at conferences, and occasionally show up at their church to declare some new *study* using the books of their BFFs.

  39. Lea wrote:

    We have heard a number of people in ministry complain that they had no idea people didn’t like them, or their policies, until something happened and it was already too far gone to fix. I think the culture of ‘don’t complain’ is partly responsible for that

    Insightful comment.

  40. Donna wrote:

    The whole king and priest thing really gets me. That is old testament stuff and we are under a new covenant.

    I totally agree with you. Remember Mark Driscoll.

  41. Machiavelli also advised his prince to do away with his enemies in one fell swoop, rather than a few here, a few there. The logic: people will be enraged at the one blood-letting — but then they will forget about it, the memories will heal over, more or less. If the prince tentatively executes one set of enemies and later, another, the wounds will be reopened in the people’s minds with every purge.

    Right there, the not-Gospel boys are setting themselves up for failure in their methods of picking away at their “enemies” — the churches they invade. Which failure would be good, were it not for weakening the church as well.

    Yes. Pretty telling when men o’gawd resort to the adviser whose name is synonymous with ruthless power grabs.

  42. Donna wrote:

    The whole king and priest thing really gets me. That is old testament stuff and we are under a new covenant.

    So true Donna. The same can be said for the “Moses Model” of leadership. I think Calvary Chapel, and the ARC use it. I think it’s a way to derive hierarchy from the Bible. But given Moses’ track record, it seems like a bad idea to use him as a template.

    Doriani does have a point in that we have developed a system that places massive expectations on one guy who rules over the organization. He thinks we should adjust our expectations. I think we should adjust the ONE guy and the ruling OVER. A TEAM of servants being a foundation UNDER is a more New Testament solution. In churches that work, I think you will often find that this is the case.

    “Why Do Churches Wound Their Pastors?” Why can you get injured on exercise equipment? Most trainers will tell you that gym equipment will injure you if you use it wrong. Or wrongly.

  43. IF a denomination is denying the existence of ‘choice’ (free will), then it may not view a human person as someone with the dignity of being made in the image of God and, bearing a soul given directly from God, has a ‘conscience’ which serves as a moral guide.

    Should such a denomination come along with a rule that people must keep silent before the pastor, and that the pastor has become the sole moral guide for the people;
    then I have to conclude that the people of this denomination REJECT what makes people human in the biblical sense of what God has called all to be witness in giving us to choose between good and evil and telling us that in choosing good our humankind may live.

    ‘soul competency’? Such a denomination does not accept this teaching, no.

  44. Janey wrote:

    Tip: Don’t try to change a church. (Many of us have tried.) Just vote with your feet. You can’t fix an institution; but God holds you responsible for protecting your family’s emotional and spiritual health from cold and vicious leaders.

    From experience, I have to agree. Fighting leadership happy in its dysfunction is a sysyphusian task. How much better to worship, serve and give where you can feel appreciated and see positive fruit. Staying in a sick church can make you an accomplice.

  45. Dee wrote:

    It took me awhile to find this church but I am so grateful that I did.
    TGC seems to be involved in creating a low expectation for pastors in their tribe. I think it is because they want to have it all-mega churches with celebrity pastors who write books, give talks at conferences, and occasionally show up at their church to declare some new *study* using the books of their BFFs.

    It’s funny Dee since at the church I’m visiting I feel the urge to ask the pastor (there is only one – insanity). “Do you feel a calling to write a book?” They have made me hesitant since they do have a record of bringing in some “big” (20k followers on twitter – is that big?) names to speak at the church but it seems genuine and done in a well intended manner.

    It’s funny how fine the line can be sometimes isn’t it?

  46. Lea wrote:

    TGC wrote: “Machiavelli wrote for and was supported by lukewarm Christians who loved their earthly fatherland more than heaven, Caesar more than Christ, social success more than virtue.”

    It’s always amazing to me how Calvinistas can just rewrite the views of others to fit their paradigm. It’s no wonder you can’t have an honest discussion with any of them.

    And as others are saying, but I just want to repeat, pastors are not kings and do have have any of the authority of kings. And ALL Christians are priests.

  47. Nancy2 wrote:

    What if the pastor is a wolf?
    Acts 20:29 – “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.”

    And this one:

    Matthew 7.15:”Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

    Here’s what you learn from TGC:

    Rule 1 – If your pastor sins, well, were all sinners so let it go

    Rule 2 – If a congregant disagrees with the pastor, the congregant is in sin and must be subjected to church discipline

  48. The Gospel Coalition Asks “Why Do Churches Wound Their Pastors?”

    Given the source, my Newspeak-to-English translator gives “HOW! DARE!! THEY!!!”
    i.e. a Predator highly offended that the Prey fights back instead of passively presenting their throats for his fangs.

  49. ishy wrote:

    It’s always amazing to me how Calvinistas can just rewrite the views of others to fit their paradigm.

    oceania has always been at peace with eurasia, comrades.
    and the chocolate ration has always been ten grams.

  50. Christiane wrote:

    IF a denomination is denying the existence of ‘choice’ (free will), then it may not view a human person as someone with the dignity of being made in the image of God and, bearing a soul given directly from God, has a ‘conscience’ which serves as a moral guide.

    “Fifty billion years of Matter in Motion…”
    — The Shining Path, Peruvian Maoist terrorist group

  51. Lea wrote:

    Wow, ishy! Not only do they quote him a lot, but there is also a whole blog called ‘a crash course on the influencers of unbelief’ in which they say:

    Who were Machiavelli’s allies and to whom did he direct his philosophy?
    Machiavelli wrote for and was supported by lukewarm Christians who loved their earthly fatherland more than heaven, Caesar more than Christ, social success more than virtue.

    Except when they can baptize Machiavelli for their own ends.
    “Ees Now Party Line, Comrades!”

  52. Our current transitional pastor is encouraging us to seek a pastor that is willing to come along side of us exactly where we are, and not to lead us around by the nose-ring as is the practice of the YRR bunch! Pastors wouldn’t have as many problems “leading” as the author points out in this article, if they would just come along side and serve with the rest of the church! That’s my understanding of what a pastor is to do…oh, and LOVING the congregation wouldn’t hurt, either. Jesus made it patently clear that the greatest in the Kingdom is the servant of all. Somewhere along the line, I think the seminaries forgot to teach that to these young’ns.
    Our former YRR Neo-cal pastor once told my daughter, “we didn’t come here to just serve, serve, serve all the time.” I think that pretty well sums up their perspective on what being a pastor means to them! Totally clueless.

  53. TomkeinOK wrote:

    Ì always thought/assumed that PROTESTants by definition protested. The earliest ones did NOT stay silent – they spoke up about abuses in the church, they posted their grievances publically to church doors – 16th century version of posting at twitter and facebook and blogging?! All – lay people as well as clergy – were considered to be equal before God. But ìf the SBC no longer believes in ‘the priesthood of all believers’ . . .

    Just “Pay, Pray, and OBEY!”

  54. Dee wrote:

    Great pickup on the Machiavelli quote. It’s a bit scary when TGC takes to quoting him!

    When you have to put your faith in Machiavelli because your God doesn’t know what he’s doing…

  55. ” … I must say that I am perplexed by this seminary professor’s reference to Niccolò Machiavelli. When someone quotes Machiavelli, it is usually not done in a favorable light.”

    I thought about Deb’s words, and I remembered how it was that a very prominent political/religious figure in Washington D.C. used to speak admiringly of Mao and of Hitler ….

    the man’s name was Doug Coe and he is a founder of the National Prayer Breakfast ….. oh, his followers have explained that what Doug Coe admired about these ‘strong leaders’ was how their followers were so intensely devoted to them

    Doug Coe thought that Christians should also be unquestioningly submissive in their religion.

    So there is a precedent. Of sorts. Take a look:

    “Hitler, Goebbels and Himmler were three men. Think of the immense power these three men had… But they bound themselves together in an agreement… Two years before they moved into Poland, these three men had… systematically a plan drawn out… to annihilate the entire Polish population and destroy by numbers every single house… every single building in Warsaw and then to start on the rest of Poland.” Coe adds that it worked; they killed six and a half million “Polish people.” Though he calls Nazis “these enemies of ours,” he compares their commitment to Jesus’ demands: “Jesus said, ‘You have to put me before other people. And you have to put me before yourself.’ Hitler, that was the demand to be in the Nazi party. You have to put the Nazi party and its objectives ahead of your own life and ahead of other people.” (Doug Coe)

  56. Loren Haas wrote:

    Fighting leadership happy in it’s dysfunction is a sysyphusian task.

    Hard for the “leadership” to see anything wrong when THEY’re the ones who personally benefit from The Way Things Are.

    KYLE: But Dad, isn’t that Fascism?
    KYLE’S DAD: No it isn’t, Son. Because we don’t call it Fascism. Do you understand?
    KYLE: Do you?
    — South Park, “Sexual Harassment Panda”
    (Immediately after this, KYLE’S DAD then reminds KYLE of how their family has gotten rich and powerful under the lawsuit-happy New Order. Did I mention that KYLE’s parents are “Remember-the-Holocaust!” Activist Jews?)

  57. Dee wrote:

    Great pickup on the Machiavelli quote. It’s a bit scary when TGC takes to quoting him!

    Has anyone heard the speculation that Machiavelli wrote “The Prince” as much as a satire/parody of power politics than as a how-to book?

  58. Where is the Holy Spirit in the neo-Cal theology?
    Why is the fruit of the Spirit not RECOGNIZED in their strange theology?
    Is it because they are very alpha-male-oriented, and they see the fruit of the Spirit as ‘powerless’?

  59. Root 66 wrote:

    Our former YRR Neo-cal pastor once told my daughter, “we didn’t come here to just serve, serve, serve all the time.”

    *Argh*

    These are people who the congregation is paying. What do they think they are being paid FOR? Maybe that is at the heart of the issue. A lot of them seem to think they are being paid to show up on sundays and be listened to with adoring ears and obeyed in all things. I bet you could get somebody to do that for free.

  60. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Has anyone heard the speculation that Machiavelli wrote “The Prince” as much as a satire/parody of power politics than as a how-to book?

    Yes. It comes off as something in between to me. These things might work but that doesn’t make this an endorsement of them?

    Of course, the get rid of your enemies and their entire family kind of reminds me of the evil overlord list.

  61. What about all the privileges pastors grant themselves?

    1. I work so hard I deserve extra time off.

    2. My opinion is above question.

    3. It’s sinful to criticize the pastor.

    4. I deserve the perks, parsonage allowance, travel allowance, education allowance, church-sponsored trips to conferences in resort locations.

    5. I preach sermons so shouldn’t have to be required to do menial work such as visiting the sick, widows, orphans, prisoners, or anybody else who is suffering.

    6. The church is synonymous with the pastor, so the church website is all about the pastor.

    7. The pastor is a CEO so he needs to hang out with the other leaders in his congregation, especially those that play golf. Regular congregational members shouldn’t impose on the CEO/very important/very busy/Pastor by inviting him over for supper.

    So, who would ever criticize the pastor?

  62. Lea wrote:

    Root 66 wrote:
    Our former YRR Neo-cal pastor once told my daughter, “we didn’t come here to just serve, serve, serve all the time.”
    *Argh*
    These are people who the congregation is paying. What do they think they are being paid FOR? Maybe that is at the heart of the issue. A lot of them seem to think they are being paid to show up on sundays and be listened to with adoring ears and obeyed in all things. I bet you could get somebody to do that for free.

    When she told me that, my response was, “then he needs to go, go, go!” Our church is very small (less than 100 people) and we didn’t have room for a pastor who thinks he shouldn’t have to work in the church. His attitude reminds me of a poster I used to have: It was the picture of an orangutan saying, “Sometimes I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits!” Rolling up his sleeves and coming alongside to help was a totally foreign concept to him.

  63. Lea wrote:

    Of course, the get rid of your enemies and their entire family kind of reminds me of the evil overlord list.

    It also makes a LOT of sense in a culture (like Semitic tribes or Italian city-states) where Vendetta and Blood Feud are common and accepted. I heard tales of (Japanese) blood feuds where a single survivor was left alive, only to found a line to come back generations later to continue the same blood feud. Once something like that happens, it locks in “Leave Nothing Alive – Nits Make Lice!” permanently.

  64. ishy wrote:

    okrapod wrote:

    So, yes, a significant number of protestants do not subscribe to sola scriptura. IMO there are also a lot of protestants who claim to believe sola scriptura but what they actually mean is something quite different when it comes to the application of scripture.

    Indeed. The Calvinistas will talk about being dedicated to Sola Scriptura quite a bit. But then they ignore large swaths of Scripture, including most of the gospels. Claiming to uphold it really doesn’t mean much to me.

    Calvin subscribed to Sola Scriptura. Yet he felt compelled to write this great, big, humongous, extra-biblical BOOK ‘splaining it all to us. Can someone tell me how that works? 😉

  65. Root 66 wrote:

    When she told me that, my response was, “then he needs to go, go, go!”

    Mine was “YOU’RE here to Serve Serve Serve ME all the time!”

  66. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Calvin subscribed to Sola Scriptura. Yet he felt compelled to write this great, big, humongous, extra-biblical BOOK ‘splaining it all to us. Can someone tell me how that works?

    Obviously Scriptura got it wrong and Calvin was ‘splaining what it all REALLY Meant.
    (Kind of like Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, Sun Myung Moon, etc?)

  67. Janey wrote:

    Oh, and even though he was a wealthy professional, he took thousands of dollars from the benevolence fund at the same time that needy single mothers were turned away.

    These guys are the wicked spoken of in the Hebrew Bible. The Book of Isaiah is replete with warnings to these types about the Almighty’s judgement to be poured out on them if they don’t change their ways. Ironic isn’t it? How they claim to have this great love affair with Scripture and yet ignore its weightier oracles.
    Is it any wonder that their solemn sermons, prayer meetings, and high mucky-muck convocations are a stench in the nostrils of God?

  68. There is a problem with ‘scriptura’ whether sola or not. Just listen to how many different opinions are expressed just here on TWW comments-many of which seem to be somebody’s understanding of scripture. Take any topic and it is easy to find several very different ideas apparently all based on scripture. Shoot, I can even disagree with myself several times over on the same topic based on scripture this or scripture that. I just think that things are not all that clear cut. Which is why, IMO, the church(es) have been explaining stuff from the get go.

  69. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Calvin subscribed to Sola Scriptura. Yet he felt compelled to write this great, big, humongous, extra-biblical BOOK ‘splaining it all to us. Can someone tell me how that works?

    no, except when you encounter someone who has the great mystery of God all figured out, think ‘gnostic’ … that ancient heresy …. them who had ‘special knowledge’ that the rest of us aren’t privy to

    from what I get, Calvin fixated on some things biblical, and then constructed a ‘thought system’ where all the parts are dependent on each other …. sort of a ‘biblical’-man made hybrid, I guess

    but take out one of the salient points and the whole deck of cards falls down because the logic system is so very interconnected

  70. @ Rob:
    #5….drives me crazy! Why is visiting the sick and elderly viewed as menial work? Faithful congregants who have given to the church get shut out because Mr Important has books to write, conferences to go to. Sad commentary on some pastors who know so little, care so little about their flock.

  71. Max wrote:

    “And from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore be alert!” (Acts 20:30-31)

    JeffT wrote:

    Matthew 7.15:”Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

    Except for Matthew 18: 15 & 16, the true gospel does not exist in YRR circles. Their gospel is the OT and Romans through Revelation. They skip Matthew through Acts.

  72. okrapod wrote:

    There is a problem with ‘scriptura’ whether sola or not. Just listen to how many different opinions are expressed just here on TWW comments-many of which seem to be somebody’s understanding of scripture. Take any topic and it is easy to find several very different ideas apparently all based on scripture. Shoot, I can even disagree with myself several times over on the same topic based on scripture this or scripture that. I just think that things are not all that clear cut. Which is why, IMO, the church(es) have been explaining stuff from the get go.

    Imagine trying to understand the Eucharist without reference to the Passover lamb, or to the ‘manna’ in the desert, or the actual literal words of Our Lord when He instituted the Eucharist …. or the concept of ‘Body of Christ’ and its relationship to the community of all the faithful

    even our Jewish friends recognize more connections in our celebration of the Eucharist than many who have long since left the Tiber behind many centuries ago; our Jewish friends UNDERSTAND ‘to be present again; to make present again’ at the first Passover

    and they see the Eucharist celebrated in the same concept: that time and place are no longer a barriers to our being with Christ as we celebrate holy communion

  73. To be fair to Mr Doriani, he also says the following about leaders in his commentary on Matthew’s Gospel.
    “There is no room for leaders who demand honor and total obedience. No leader should usurp the loyalty that belongs to the Lord (Matthew 23:5-10)”. (Vol. 2 page 329)
    “If Jesus illustrates the way power should be used, the chief priests and elders showed how it should not. They were supposed to be leaders, but their view hardly transcended crowd control and self-preservation. They met secretly because they knew their counsels could not bear open scrutiny and had no popular suppor. Jesus wins people by plain and open teacher no, by spiritual persuasion, and by blessing people with his powers. The priests have nothing nothing but guile and Roman backing.”(on Matthew 26:1-16, Volume 2, page 424).
    And in his commentary on James, he advocates that elders/leaders should confess their sin publicly before the church if they have committed wrongdoing. (Page 200).
    So he may have had a particular thing or things in mind when he wrote the article on wounding your pastor.

  74. The pastor of a mega church in my town doesn’t visit people who are sick either. Five years ago when my neighbor was dying, he didn’t come visit him. Even when he was transferred to a large hospital up in Dallas, only a few elders visited him. But the pastor didn’t. This was probably the sickest person in his congregation at the time and he couldn’t drive 90 minutes to see him. Made me sort of sick. I saw this pastor this week, w/o all the makeup he wears on Sunday for the tv services. He didn’t look to good. If you are too “good” to visit the sick and dying of the church, then to me something is wrong. This pastor has all his deacons around him that do that type of work, or committees. I also this happen when another member of his church died. Same thing. I guess this is his MO.

  75. @ Catholic Gate-Crasher:
    The Instutes were essentially a compendium of Christian doctrine as expressed by the Genevan reformers. They were written both for instruction and “as a confession offered to a persecuting king in behalf of the author’s fellow believers”. For more on this you can read the Introduction to the Institutes, edited by John T McNeill

  76. @ Preacher’s wife

    I’m sure you and your husband are fine folks. In my experience, I’ve cut a lot of slack to my former pastors who weren’t really that great, but who genuinely loved and cared for their congregation. That’s really all I ask. If a pastor is completely mediocre at his job, but is honest, genuinely loves God and genuinely loves people, I’ll take him any day of the week. But the ones I’ve had who have been wolves…..sorry, no slack at all. These self righteous Calvinista clowns who are too busy building their brand name to actually care for anyone have no business being pastors.

  77. Harley wrote:

    If you are too “good” to visit the sick and dying of the church, then to me something is wrong.

    yes …. something is wrong

    a story:
    “Francis was riding his horse near Assisi, when he met a leper. And, even though he usually shuddered at lepers, he made himself dismount, and gave him a coin, kissing his hand as he did so. After he accepted a kiss of peace from him, Francis remounted and continued on his way. He then began to consider himself less and less, until, by God’s grace, he came to complete victory over himself.
    After a few days, he moved to a hospice of lepers, taking with him a large sum of money. Calling them all together, as he kissed the hand of each, he gave them alms. When he left there, what before had been bitter, that is, to see and touch lepers, was turned into sweetness. For, as he said, the sight of lepers was so bitter to him, that he refused not only to look at them, but even to approach their dwellings. If he happened to come near their houses or to see them, even though he was moved by piety to give them alms through an intermediary, he always turned away his face and held his nose. With the help of God’s grace, he became such a servant and friend of the lepers, that, as he testified in his Testament, he stayed among them and served them with humility.”

    It looks like the deacons go before the pastor by their service to the sick, and by their witness to Christ’s mercy

    in our ‘unChristian America’, we still have an iconic respect for the ministers, priests, and rabbis who visit the sick in hospital …. so much so that hospitals reserve parking for clergy and people respect that provision

    hospitals know that clergy bring an element of healing to the sick and dying that goes beyond what medicine offers, even if it’s just to bring peace and calm in the midst of suffering

    poor pastor … he is badly in need of God’s grace and a whopping dose of humility, I imagine

  78. @ Lowlandseer:

    The Institutes were Calvin’s interpretation of the Scriptures, plain and simple. Which is hilarious because the very writing of the book refutes the idea of SS (that all you need is to read the Scriptures). Look, the simple fact is that the Scriptures do need to be interpreted. It’s just funny that today we have literally thousands of Protestant denoms (and countless independent churches), with wildly varying beliefs, yet each claiming to “just take the plain teaching of the Bible.” The truth is that, despite appeals to the contrary, nobody really believes in SS. We’re all following some tradition. Some of us are just willing to admit to that.

  79. Of course one person should not be expected to fill all ministries (NOT offices) in a congregation, this is why the NT model is multiple co-leaders.

    Deborah was a judge prophet, notice how he neglects to discuss her. The others were Moses and Samuel.

    In the NT, all believers are given a spiritual gift, some of those are recognized by a congregation as deacons/ministers and some of those are recognized as elders/overseers/shepherds. The type of ministries of overseers include apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor/teacher. An apostle is often called a missionary today. An example of a prophet could be a preacher today. The main difference between an overseer and a deacon is that an overseer is recognized as being able to teach. Paul called himself a deacon, usually translated as minister. Yes, overseers need positive feedback, so do this when appropriate.

    The word obey in Hebrews in regards to leaders means “allow oneself to be convinced if possible”. That means to be willing to listen to what an overseer has to say on a matter when there is a disagreement or concern. A leader normally teaches by example.

  80. Preacher’s Wife wrote:

    3 – When I think of major sin in the church I think of manipulation, duplicitousness, authoritativeness, and gossip. Yes, I have seen elders, other staff members, and lay leaders do all of those and the church has suffered or we have left. But I don’t think that’s the stuff other people would call major sin.

    See, I would be thinking abuse, too. Love of money or poor stewardship of it.

    I doubt gossip would make the list unless it was lies.

  81. Lea wrote:

    I doubt gossip would make the list unless it was lies.

    Or unless it was disclosing of something truly private, like information from a therapy session.

  82. okrapod wrote:

    Looking at the church which I left I watched three successive pastors be chewed to bits by a minority of the pew persons until even the denominational hierarchy could not solve the problem.

    Both you and Preachers Wife point out that bullies do exist and make life miserable for a pastor and anyone else. Without negating your experience, mine is different. From my interaction with Pastors it appears that pastor schools drive home that such bullies are the norm and they must be on the lookout for anyone who vocally disagrees. Thus pastors, instead of identifying valuable people who they can depend on for independent thought, instead label them as divisive and in need of suppression.

    Most people, it seems around 75 percent, will go along unthinking with what ever is proposed. Of the other 25 percent who may disagree most will not venture forward and thus only a tiny percentage actually speak up in opposition, even when something is not just subjectively wrong but objectively wrong. These few who speak up are soon labeled and dismissed. When in opposition, one’s thoughts are rarely clear and without the aid of those present to help clarify the nature of the objection, the thoughts stay muddled. For those in agreement, everything maybe clear but for those opposed they contend internally with a whole range of confusing thoughts and emotions that occur when you are separated from the group thinkers.

    In the face of suppression I usually withdraw, others with more dominant personalities will push back more stridently and thus solidifying their negative image.

    Is it a suppressed independent thinker or a divisive person, how to tell which is the case? Pastors may labeled those who disagree based on their initial interaction with bullies. Contrast this with some of the small minority who speak up may take on the persona of bullies because that is how they have always been perceived and treated. I am not stating it is all due to such miscommunication and labeling, but I’ve seen enough to dig deeper when I see the situations arise.

  83. ” ….the takeaways from the post:

    – Your pastor isn’t perfect, so suck it up.

    – Silence is golden (when it comes to criticizing your pastor).

    – Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls…

    Thoughts?”

    My thoughts are unprintable, but we must stop these people before it’s too late …. the hand-writing is in the visual below:
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C7aYllVU4AA-fUR.jpg

  84. Mae wrote:

    @ Rob:
    #5….drives me crazy! Why is visiting the sick and elderly viewed as menial work? Faithful congregants who have given to the church get shut out because Mr Important has books to write, conferences to go to. Sad commentary on some pastors who know so little, care so little about their flock.

    No fame/celebrity in it so why bother, seems to be the prevailing attitude among these types.

  85. Christiane wrote:

    no, except when you encounter someone who has the great mystery of God all figured out, think ‘gnostic’ … that ancient heresy …. them who had ‘special knowledge’ that the rest of us aren’t privy to

    Which is also the definition of “Illuminati”.

  86. @ Alan:
    The Institutes do not refute the notion of Sola Scriptura, quite the opposite. As for the thousands of Protestant denominations, well, that isn’t a bad thing, as has been magnificently argued by Kevin Vanhoozer in his book “Biblical Authority after Babel: Recovering the Solas in the Spirit of Mere Protestant Christianity”

  87. Christiane wrote:

    My thoughts are unprintable, but we must stop these people before it’s too late …. the hand-writing is in the visual below:
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C7aYllVU4AA-fUR.jpg

    i.e. a Biblical Complementarian/Establish a REAL Christian Nation wet dream.

    P.S. Remember that church in the Bible Belt that was trying to get (or actually got) its own police force?

  88. Christiane wrote:

    Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls…

    There is a statement like that in scripture, of course, with details which vary slightly with which translation one is using. So, IMO, we have to take this issue seriously since on the one hand there is scripture and on the other hand there are abuses.

    Our rector has said that his major responsibility is the care of souls, and at the time he was talking about the sacraments and the prayers and being available for people who need him as well as his other priestly duties-some of which are reserved to the priest and some of which are not.

    So I can see ‘co-operate with the leadership when they are fulfilling their function diligently and are actually caring for souls, if possible’, as a reasonable idea behind that comment in scripture.

  89. They focus too much on the pastor — the real question they should be asking is why do pastors and churches hurt and dismiss those that come that are already wounded?

  90. Lowlandseer wrote:

    As for the thousands of Protestant denominations, well, that isn’t a bad thing, as has been magnificently argued by Kevin Vanhoozer…

    Was one of his arguments “With thousands of denoms, no single one can reach critical mass to take over, dominate, and make themselves The One True Way”?
    (also see above comment)

  91. Sadly, this is just not a problem with the Calvanistas. My most recent church experiences were with churches from a holiness tradition and anabaptist tradition and they became pastor focused, and I was shown the door as soon as I expressed concern and asked questions…

  92. Does anybody else ever get the feeling like TGC writers write some things just to see what they can get away with and how blind their followers are?

  93. Faith wrote:

    They focus too much on the pastor — the real question they should be asking is why do pastors and churches hurt and dismiss those that come that are already wounded?

    I think Doriani’s choices reveal that in the article. Machiavelli is his guide, and Machiavelli advocated complete ruthlessness. And he called church members “subordinates”.

    They only care about power, not people. That has no place in any church.

  94. @ okrapod:
    in the context of the other two ‘take-aways’ I can see how that scripture could be mis-used

    there is, within the Body of Christ, a collegial benefit from sharing points of view, which forcing women to keep silent does impact;
    and blind obedience to anyone violates the principle of moral conscience which operates together with personal responsibility for one’s actions

    I place the ‘photo’ in response to the triad taken as a whole …… the take-out from Scripture on it’s own merit should operate successfully as you describe it with the pastor in service to Christ caring for those he ministers to, yes

  95. Faith wrote:

    the real question they should be asking is why do pastors and churches hurt and dismiss those that come that already wounded?

    +1

  96. Thought: Church problems (caused by leaders and members) are as old as the New Testament. The NT would be smaller if that were not the case.

    The solution: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this will all men know you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

    He repeats the command three times! We are hard of hearing.

  97. ishy wrote:

    Does anybody else ever get the feeling like TGC writers write some things just to see what they can get away with and how blind their followers are?

    How do you think L Ron Hubbard came up with some of the Inner Mysteries of Scientology?

    A lot of them (starting with his previous incarnations’ treasure stashes around the Med when he was on the lam at sea) seemed to be a personal “Can I Top Myself?” and seeing if his followers would believe it. (They did.)

  98. Faith wrote:

    Sadly, this is just not a problem with the Calvanistas. My most recent church experiences were with churches from a holiness tradition and anabaptist tradition

    Not sure about Anabaptists per se (I know a couple), but Holiness Tradition always struck me as having an obvious built-in way to go sour: “Holier than Thou” one-upmanship. Because if you to A, B, & C to be Holy, well I can do A, B, C, D, E, F, 3.1416, and Purple! Especially since Holiness “Holiness” can all too easily be defined in NEGATIVE terms, i.e. “Thou Shalt Not”s.

  99. @ drstevej:

    I think there is difference of emphasis on what the word ‘love’ means. For some it seems to mean mostly or even exclusively compassion. For some it also means the willingness to confront and correct. For some it seems to mean something directed at individuals, and for some it includes actions taken for the good of the group also.

    I am interested in hearing what you think. I think that Jesus used the terms in his summation of the law, with love for God first and love for one’s neighbor second, but when I look at the law outside of that summation then love for neighbor would include but not be limited to such things as for example don’t commit adultery (doing the right thing for everybody involved) and things like do justice which do not seem to have anything to do with compassion for example.

    That said, love your neighbor as yourself (Jesus) does not seem to be identical to love one another (Jesus) so are we talking about two different things or what? It looks to me like two different things, two different ideas both of who is to be loved and also of what it is to love.

    I would like to hear what you think.

  100. @ okrapod:

    Here is the material I put together on the command to love one another drstevej.com/OA-02 – CBC.pdf

    Also check out James 2:8; 1 Cor 13. Both reference the same term agapao.

  101. I can’t comment on the book in question, as I haven’t read it (ergo, I haven’t seen the quoted statements in context). But, as Preacher’s Wife has observed, there are instances where congregations are abusive to their ministers. Or, for that matter, to anybody else who challenges the comfortable, country-club status quo. I know of a number of pastors here in Blighty, and from what I can gather there are many more I haven’t heard of directly, whom I would not hesitate to describe as “persecuted” by the very congregations they serve, for doing no more than trying to get them to welcome newcomers and reach out to the community around them. Usurping of leadership, control, abuse, and empire-building are not the sole prerogatives of would-be gurus and seminary apparatchiks.

    But it does seem odd that the gospel coalition would write about this, when they and organisations like them are so committed to giving power to the pulpit. For all my opening remark about context, I’m struggling to think of a context in which the word “subordinates” belongs in the body of Christ.

  102. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    For all my opening remark about context, I’m struggling to think of a context in which the word “subordinates” belongs in the body of Christ.

    See, I took that as staff they directly supervised (like, youth pastor, junior pastors, etc)

    I don’t mind saying that’s not a great word to use for this, but I’m curious if other people heard that differently.

  103. Lea wrote:

    See, I took that as staff they directly supervised

    I assumed that was what was meant, too, but even so!

  104. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    See, I took that as staff they directly supervised

    I assumed that was what was meant, too, but even so!

    It didn’t twig to me, but maybe because it gets used in a military context so often and I have a lot of Vet coworkers so the terminology overlaps.

  105. Yup, Nick! We Catholics face similar issues. We had a pastor who wanted to take our parish in a more traditionalist direction, which many of us supported. But the aging-hippie Folk Mass ladies (very vocal and powerful, I might add) raised a ruckus and squawked to the bishop. That said, the pastor didn’t help matters much. All sorts of compromises were proposed, but he refused them all, picked up his toys, and left the sandbox. Translation: He joined the FSSP, a traditional religious order. Thereby leaving us high and dry. So, yeah, this was a case of Pastor Abuse…but at the same time, the pastor wasn’t faultless either.

    Now we have the most wonderful pastor. He is from Cameroon, has a PhD from Rome, and speaks five languages, yet he is so humble and ready to serve. What’s more, he radiates joy. It’s downright infectious! He is not as Liturgically Correct as the former pastor, but he is orthodox and extremely pastoral. That is what our parish needed. It has been very healing. I know we won’t be able to keep him forever – a priest with a PhD from Rome is kind of a valuable commodity, and we are just a little rural mission under the mantle of a small inner-city parish – but I sure do hope we can keep him for awhile. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love him.

  106. drstevej wrote:

    The solution: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this will all men know you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
    He repeats the command three times! We are hard of hearing.

    The apostle Paul uses the word “charity” …… He says that without out charity, we are nothing. Charity = love, compassion, agape.

  107. @ Preacher’s Wife:
    This is true for everyone. However, there is a caveat to this. Bullying can be a method that some folks use to prevent people from coming to speak to them. How do they bully? Well, today I spoke with some folks in a couple of different situations. When they approached the leaders with their concerns, they were told they were slandering them and were told to repent. In one situation, the denomination’s hierarchy got involved and solved the situation. In the other, the person left the church in tremendous pain.

    The question to ask is how approachable are we when people come to talk with us about difficult things.

  108. Spartacus wrote:

    Yes. Pretty telling when men o’gawd resort to the adviser whose name is synonymous with ruthless power grabs.

    I was startled when I saw them quoting him.

  109. Lise wrote:

    It’s funny how fine the line can be sometimes isn’t it?

    Absolutely! It took me 2 years to trust and even now I find I am always on alert. PTSD, perhaps. I look forward to visiting with you.

  110. Dee wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    Given the source, my Newspeak-to-English translator gives “HOW! DARE!! THEY!!!”

    You always make me laugh!

    Though with this subject, the choice is all too often “laugh or scream”.

  111. Lowlandseer wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    1) No.
    2) Which comment?

    2) The link to the Republic of Holy Gilead JPEG higher in the stream.

    (Can you just see Commander Piper squealing with delight? Commander Driscoll snapping up all the Handmaids he can? And both Commander Dougs as extermination-camp commandants?)

  112. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    We had a pastor who wanted to take our parish in a more traditionalist direction, which many of us supported. But the aging-hippie Folk Mass ladies (very vocal and powerful, I might add) raised a ruckus and squawked to the bishop.

    Church Ladies stuck in the Sixties (“Groovy, Man!”) who never left Woodstock?

  113. Cousin of Eutychus wrote:

    Leadership schools in the military look at dissent in a surprisingly different way than typical church leadership. In the military troops complaining is considered a somewhat healthy part of normal life. The time to be concerned is when everyone goes silent; that is when you need to watch your back as a leader and when unit discipline is about to go south.

    I think the Neo-Calvinist leaders want everyone in the pews to go silent. They want to silence all dissent, because they perceive dissent/disagreement as a threat to their position of authority. Remember, in the Neo-Calvinist world, those in the pews are not equal to the pastors/elders. Those in the pews are the “subordinates” as Doriani points out. Their world view is all about control and they, the leaders, must be on top and calling all the shots. When they don’t get their way and things don’t run smoothly according to their plans, it’s not their fault. It’s the recalcitrant pew peons fault for not getting in line with the vision of the *New Reformation.*

  114. Dee wrote:

    @ Catholic Gate-Crasher:
    I am so glad you are here! Great comment.

    Blush!! Thank you so much. 😀

  115. ishy wrote:

    Want to see something really interesting? Do a Google search on “Gospel Coalition Machiavelli”. It will ring some major alarm bells.

    Yes….creepy. Something that jumped out at me. Under Bell Creek Community Church, a church which supports TGC, it states the following: “Machiavelli said there is nothing more difficult in leadership than creating a new order.” Now that rings high on the creep-o-meter!

  116. When you have a fundamentally flawed view of what a pastor should be, that position will be filled by fundamentally flawed individuals incapable of doing the real job. Those individuals will perpetuate the wrong definition in every way because they have neither the incentive nor the heart to clarify the situation. I’m amazed that a group so focussed on biblical scholarship can spit out so much 5 reasons theology.

  117. @ Lowlandseer:

    SS says that all you need is the Bible. Writing a book to explain what the Bible means, by definition negates SS. Unless Calvin wrote the book merely for entertainment purposes.

    It’s fine to believe that thousands of denoms are a good thing, but to do so with you any level of consistency, you’d have to acknowledge two things: 1) you’re not really going by “just the Bible” and 2) your chosen beliefs are simply what you decided to believe and have no basis in historic Christianity.

  118. Mae wrote:

    Argh,do these pastors ever let up on being catered to? The church does not revolve around the feelings of the pastor. It’s not the pastor’s responsibility to bring change to the church.
    The usage of, “subordinates”,says it all.We are not all equal in this man’s church, there are layers of hierarchy in his command.
    The pew seater is the most problematic, they might actual have a POV, differing from that of the management.

    I think these Neo-Cal pastors consider the local church *their* church and not the church of Jesus Christ. What they may parrot with their lips (that the church is the body of Christ), and the way that they actually live according to their actions are two different things entirely. One thing I’ve learned from TWW (thank you Deebs) and the commentators here, is that these sneaky pastors/elders know how to worm their way into a congregation by saying the right words to deceive the pastor search committees because the end (the goal of Calvinizing that local church body) justifies the means. Stealth and deception are their trademark.

  119. NJ wrote:

    okrapod wrote:
    Looking at the church which I left I watched three successive pastors be chewed to bits by a minority of the pew persons until even the denominational hierarchy could not solve the problem. I know from experience in that church that some of what the author stated in his article is accurate as to what can and does happen sometimes in churches.
    I agree. Sometimes pastors (and their wives) get treated like garbage, and that’s a genuine problem. I think TGC’s problem here is their regular banging of the drum on stuff like this while ignoring the other side: the abuse of the flock. It looks completely self-serving, even if that wasn’t an individual author’s intention.

    For what it’s worth, I think when we’re discussing the subject of local churches/parishes wounding their pastors, we have to look at the New Calvinists addressing this matter on a Whole Nother Level. When the intent of these pastors is to come in and bring sweeping changes and establish a New Calvinist Order, then of course they are going to be met with resistance, especially when they entered the sheepfold by lies and deception. They view themselves as martyrs when really all they are is scoundrels.

  120. Preacher’s Wife wrote:

     
    No doubt some preachers and pastors are wolves. Some are immature. Some have been burned and have grown bitter and hurtful. But there are some who do take their job seriously and see their position and authority as a grave responsibility and expect to be judged more harshly for it. It’s not a terrible article.

    My question to you, Preacher’s Wife: Did your husband come into the church he is currently pastoring with the intent and ulterior motive to change the doctrinal beliefs and polity of that local church body? Did he sneak into the sheepfold by stealth and deception in order to bring about a *New Order* even though the congregation isn’t on board with this change? Because this is the issue that I see as the most problematic with these Neo-Cal pastors. They believe they have been given charge from On High to implement their playbook of duplicity and deception, and they are h*ll-bent on foisting their authority on the congregation without any regard for their beliefs. They don’t have a clue what it means to show consideration and respect toward the believers in the local church, because they consider themselves better and above them. Arrogance = another trademark of these Neo-Cal pastors/elders along with stealth and deception.

  121. Darlene wrote:

    I think these Neo-Cal pastors consider the local church *their* church and not the church of Jesus Christ.

    The Neo-Cals takeover local churches for the new reformation through stealth and deception. They don’t have Jesus on their mind while they do that. It’s all about the movement and increasing the number of “their” churches. They are more concerned about pleasing Calvin than Christ.

  122. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    The Gospel Coalition Asks “Why Do Churches Wound Their Pastors?”
    Given the source, my Newspeak-to-English translator gives “HOW! DARE!! THEY!!!”
    i.e. a Predator highly offended that the Prey fights back instead of passively presenting their throats for his fangs.

    HUG, you have the ability to say the truth succinctly! Me thinks these Neo-Cal leaders expect the pew peons to enjoy pain.

  123. Darlene wrote:

    Neo-Cal pastors

    And another thing. It’s not appropriate to call these folks “pastors”. They just don’t meet the Biblical job description for that role. They are self-proclaimed pastors, who are not living up to that title in far too many places.

  124. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    We had a pastor who wanted to take our parish in a more traditionalist direction, which many of us supported. But the aging-hippie Folk Mass ladies (very vocal and powerful, I might add) raised a ruckus and squawked to the bishop.

    Church Ladies stuck in the Sixties (“Groovy, Man!”) who never left Woodstock?

    Exactly! Think “Glory and Praise” hymnal on steroids.

    Myself, I’m kind of caught in the middle. I love traditional liturgy, devotions, and hymnody. But I don’t necessarily want the Latin Mass; a reverent Novus Ordo suits me fine. And no, I don’t think altar girls spell the End of Civilization as We Know It.

    Of course, “in the middle” means you get chewed up by both sides, but such is life. 😀

  125. What strikes me in the article is how he tiptoes around, IMO, the issue of “expectation management.” Charity in both directions is warranted–both towards pastors AND congregants.

    Like any job, I think it is completely fair to tell the church straight up what they are getting. They are not getting “two for one” in hiring ONE senior pastor (even though, he or she is married). They are not getting on call spiritual care services for a congregation of 1,000. That is unreasonable and a recipe for burn out. I could go on… (and encourage declaring one’s theology up front as well–e.g. Calvinista or otherwise).

    And part of it is simply grounding as a pastor. My worth, value, and identity is not captive to this job or the feedback I get from a congregation including the boss (or elder board). Losing sight of that is what is going to destroy a pastor in the long run, IMO.

  126. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    For all my opening remark about context, I’m struggling to think of a context in which the word “subordinates” belongs in the body of Christ.

    Exactly! “Subordinates” was initially the word that stuck out for me in reading Deb’s post. As I said way up thread, the usage of this word is quite telling.

  127. Max wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    Neo-Cal pastors
    And another thing. It’s not appropriate to call these folks “pastors”. They just don’t meet the Biblical job description for that role. They are self-proclaimed pastors, who are not living up to that title in far too many places.

    Well, the way I see it, the adjective “Neo-Cal” (or New Calvinist, Calvinista) cancels out the word “pastor.” 🙂

  128. Jimmy wrote:

    It’s a short and incomplete article on a complex subject but I think overall he did a great job summarizing some great points.

    I’m trying to see how that sentence makes any sense of the common sort.

  129. GSD wrote:

    Doriani does have a point in that we have developed a system that places massive expectations on one guy who rules over the organization. He thinks we should adjust our expectations. I think we should adjust the ONE guy and the ruling OVER. A TEAM of servants being a foundation UNDER is a more New Testament solution.

    Yes. Doriani is just doing the typical whining. They want all the power and authority but none of the bad stuff that comes with it. Honestly, these guys could not last a single day in management in the real world. They couldn’t last a couple of hours in manual labor in the real world. They must be adored and obeyed or they melt down.

  130. Max wrote:

    It’s not appropriate to call these folks “pastors”. They just don’t meet the Biblical job description

    This.

  131. Sometimes my mind goes stream of consciousness in search of a joke. In this instance I was looking for an irrelevant quote by another Italian who’s name sounds like Machiavelli. Somehow I ended up with Spindarella who is as relevant as Machiavelli and has something to say to the boys club at the Coalition. Here’s a short excerpt.

    Spinderella’s not a fella what you say?
    Spinderella’s not a fella that’s ok
    Spinderella’s not a fella watch her play
    Spinderella’s not a fella but a girl DJ

    Interesting Fact: Spindarella became the DJ for Salt N Pepa after Ricky Lake was initially offered the job. The men at the Coalition have yet to release a statement on her assertions for fear that they are true.

  132. I love these oh-so-exegetical neo-Calvinist pastors and their rank and unabashed eisegesis whenever it suits their purpose. The three offices have nothing to do with the role of a leader in the church, who is to become so by serving rather than by appointment.

  133. JeffT wrote:

    Nancy2 wrote:
    What if the pastor is a wolf?
    Acts 20:29 – “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.”
    And this one:
    Matthew 7.15:”Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
    Here’s what you learn from TGC:
    Rule 1 – If your pastor sins, well, were all sinners so let it go
    Rule 2 – If a congregant disagrees with the pastor, the congregant is in sin and must be subjected to church discipline

    And that’s pretty much the sum of it. Perfectly put.

  134. Gram3 wrote:

    Jimmy wrote:
    It’s a short and incomplete article on a complex subject but I think overall he did a great job summarizing some great points.
    I’m trying to see how that sentence makes any sense of the common sort.

    I think we’ve had our fair share of trolls lately at TWW, protecting their NeoCalvinist superheros.

  135. Gram3 wrote:

    Yes. Doriani is just doing the typical whining. They want all the power and authority but none of the bad stuff that comes with it.

    Don’t you know the more POWER you have, the less Responsibility?

    Just ask Caesar Caligula and Kim Jong-Un.

  136. Darlene wrote:

    One thing I’ve learned from TWW (thank you Deebs) and the commentators here, is that these sneaky pastors/elders know how to worm their way into a congregation by saying the right words to deceive the pastor search committees because the end (the goal of Calvinizing that local church body) justifies the means.

    The Cause so Righteous it justifies any means whatsoever.

    Just ask Citizen Robespierre, Comrade Pol Pot, and Mullah Omar.

  137. Max wrote:

    In the meantime, watchmen in the pew are forced to wound (correct and rebuke) their pastors if need be.

    I agree 100%, but few people are willing to do this.

  138. __

    “Is TGC Pastoral Accountability Going Out The Window?”

    hmmm…

    TGC (The Gospel Coalition) is a Calvinist 501(c)3 non-profit para-church organization. It is well known for praising and supporting abusive pastors who do not meet the scriptural (biblical) criteria for church leadership.

    Where Calvinism is the name of the game?

    huh?

    This organization is well know for peddling Calvinist theology (TULIP) as the true gospel. They are a part of a Calvinist good ole boy network of other church groups such as Acts29, and para-church organizations such as Together 4 The Gospel (T4G) , CBMW, and 9Marks, which are peddling the same thing.

    (Their systematic Baptist 501(c)3 church takeover assistance is. quite pronounced.)

    What?!?

    Religious Hazard Alert?

    gump

    WARNING: Checking out these organizations could very well be hazardous to you, your family, and your church well being as well,

    Be Web Aware! Know the story. Know the score.

    These ‘religious’ men ‘may’ hurt you if you let them…

    (sadface)

    ATB

    Sopy

  139. scott hendrixson wrote:

    I agree 100%, but few people are willing to do this.

    “But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity” (Ezekiel 33)

  140. Darlene wrote:

    the adjective “Neo-Cal” (or New Calvinist, Calvinista) cancels out the word “pastor.”

    Well, I have yet to meet one in my area (you will know them by their lack of fruit). The YRR church planters here love to call themselves “lead pastor” … even if they are the ‘only’ pastor at a church! If they would spend as much time loving and serving the sheep as they do combing their hair and tweeting their lives away, folks might form a different opinion about them in my community.

  141. a side note:
    “Gianforte and his wife, Susan, live in Bozeman, Montana, and together they have four children.[88] The Gianfortes attend Grace Bible Church, a nondenominational church in Bozeman”

    Grace Bible Church rang a bell ….. sure enough, looking at the church info was revealing of the place of women in said church

  142. Max wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    the adjective “Neo-Cal” (or New Calvinist, Calvinista) cancels out the word “pastor.”
    Well, I have yet to meet one in my area (you will know them by their lack of fruit). The YRR church planters here love to call themselves “lead pastor” … even if they are the ‘only’ pastor at a church! If they would spend as much time loving and serving the sheep as they do combing their hair and tweeting their lives away, folks might form a different opinion about them in my community.

    Or senior pastor….got to love the prestige, ya’ know.

  143. @ JeffT:
    @ Darlene:

    Darlene, I think you’re right.

    I also think it would be cool if Dee or Deb did a post featuring any links, screenshots, etc. of stuff written by Calvinistas providing a blueprint for how to take over a non-calvinist church. In other words, hard evidence of what a few of them have been denying. Amass enough examples to make it a major post, then link to it on social media as much as possible. If it got picked up by even one Christian media outlet, things could get interesting.

  144. Mae wrote:

    senior pastor

    While “Senior” pastor is tossed around throughout Christendom, “Lead” pastor is a dead-giveaway that you have walked into a New Calvinist church! Neither title reflects humility or servant-hood which should be characteristic of the pulpit. I keep waiting for some young reformer to call himself “The Man”. To which Nathan the prophet should point a finger in his face and proclaim “Yes, you are the man!”

  145. @ Max:
    Maybe we should give them a taste of their own medicine. Start wearing nametags which read: head honcho parishioner, senior SS teacher, lead choir member, etc. Have business cards to hand out too.

  146. Mae wrote:

    them a taste of their own medicine. Start wearing nametags which read: head honcho parishioner, senior SS teacher, lead choir member, etc. Have business cards to hand out too.

    How about “Senior Watchman”?

  147. Nancy2 wrote:

    How about “Senior Watchman”?

    I believe God puts watchmen in every local church and Christian organization (though they not openly bear that title). The problem is that not too many of them are sounding the alarm these days regarding New Calvinism. SBC leaders have darn near rolled over and died letting the new reformers have their way, as a once-great denomination forfeits its gifting of evangelism.

    Nancy2, you are a watchwoman.

  148. okrapod wrote:

    @ Christiane:
    I gather from various sources that there is a strong reformed influence in the american redoubt.

    That the Guns-Gold-and-GAWD Survivalist “Galt’s Gulch” which will Take Back America (with themselves as the Virile Manly Masters) after The Apocalyptic Collapse? Those have been around in some form since the Reagan Years. I remember Survvialist braggarts from the 1980s, lifetime Soldier of Fortune subscriptions and all.

  149. Max wrote:

    While “Senior” pastor is tossed around throughout Christendom, “Lead” pastor is a dead-giveaway that you have walked into a New Calvinist church! Neither title reflects humility or servant-hood which should be characteristic of the pulpit.

    “So shall I exalt MY Throne above that of the Most High!”

  150. Christiane wrote:

    Grace Bible Church rang a bell ….. sure enough, looking at the church info was revealing of the place of women in said church

    “Grace Bible” – two Christianese buzzwords in a row.
    Like “People’s Republic” in the name of a Third World dictatorship.

    Did the church info include a picture like the Handmaid’s Tale screencap that surfaced on either this thread or another of the recent ones?

  151. okrapod wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    My mind does it all the time.

    I remember the good old days when I had a mind, but I seem to have misplaced it along the way.

    “I’m used to my bifocals,
    My dentures work just fine,
    I can live with my arthritis,
    But I sure do miss my mind.”
    — heard on the radio many-many years ago

  152. This incredible TED talk on the cover-up by scientists and officials in the Flint water scandal, reminds me a lot of the the arrogant attitudes of certain pastors who care only about their positions and don’t have compassion on the average person in their churches.

    The same attitudes that made leaders turn a blind eye from the filthy lead-laden water makes certain church leaders cover up child sexual abusers among their staff and allow to prey on vulnerable people.

    In the Flint crisis, the first scientist to blow the whistle was silenced, but enough scientists and researchers realized their job was protecting the public good, and the tide turned. The nation was outraged by images of dirty brown water coming out of the tap and the uncaring leaders who allowed it to happen.

    https://www.ted.com/talks/siddhartha_roy_science_in_service_to_the_public_good

  153. Max wrote:

    The YRR church planters here love to call themselves “lead pastor” … even if they are the ‘only’ pastor at a church! If they would spend as much time loving and serving the sheep as they do combing their hair and tweeting their lives away…

    Like Donald Trump wanna-bes?

    Deb & Dee have written about followers imitating their gurus in everything. That particular choice of role model (at least the public image) would explain a lot…

  154. Max wrote:

    I believe God puts watchmen in every local church and Christian organization (though they not openly bear that title). The problem is that not too many of them are sounding the alarm these days regarding New Calvinism. SBC leaders have darn near rolled over and died letting the new reformers have their way, as a once-great denomination forfeits its gifting of evangelism.
    Nancy2, you are a watchwoman.

    Most SBC “leaders” are Calvinists, now. And, I have learned tons from TWW and commenters. A few years ago, I knew something wasn’t right. I just couldn’t put my finger on it!

  155. Janey wrote:

    This incredible TED talk on the cover-up by scientists and officials in the Flint water scandal, reminds me a lot of the the arrogant attitudes of certain pastors who care only about their positions and don’t have compassion on the average person in their churches.

    Milton Friedman had a quote about politics that “It’s nice to elect the right people, but that isn’t the way you solve things. The way you solve things is by making it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right things. ”

    I think this is true in a number of areas. You need to make it so exposing a problem in your organization is good for you. And you need to make everyone believe it. There is a bit of this mindset in some health care reviews, you want to really look at what has gone wrong and how to fix it in a non-punitive way.

    But then otoh, I think no amount of structure and good polity in churches will overcome back ethics and truly bad people, in churches or the pulpit. The only thing you can do is limit their power, both limiting the amount of damage they can do and making it so people seeking power are not drawn to these positions.

  156. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    I remember Survvialist braggarts from the 1980s

    Same ideas, more and newer players.

    But speaking of survivalist ideas, I have had a great awakening after dealing with this house disaster. It is going on seven weeks now, and I am still without use of the downstairs bathroom and the kitchen is a shell with a stove and a refrigerator. I had no backup plans. I had thought in the past about having a little kitchenette in the basement-maybe a little microwave and an electric hot water pot and an apartment size fridge–a backup in case of disaster, with some folding cots in case of tornado warnings to boot, but I did not do it. Interesting enough that is the first thing the house repair company asked me-do you have a backup plan? Well, shoot no. I was thinking of disaster in more dramatic terms and thinking it probably would not happen. Until a water pipe started channeling city water down a central wall and trough the basement ceiling–That made a believer out of me.

    So I believe now what the survivalists say: two is one and one is none. Got it. I have so got it.

  157. okrapod wrote:

    I had no backup plans.

    I have a friend with a less dramatic issue (kitchen redo) who is using an instapot to cook a lot of things.

    But on the survivalist front, I think some people are more wired to planning for and worrying about disasters than others. But there are some things you will never be prepared enough to handle!

  158. Nancy2 wrote:

    Mae wrote:
    them a taste of their own medicine. Start wearing nametags which read: head honcho parishioner, senior SS teacher, lead choir member, etc. Have business cards to hand out too.
    How about “Senior Watchman”?

    Awesome!

  159. Rob wrote:

    7. The pastor is a CEO so he needs to hang out with the other leaders in his congregation, especially those that play golf.

    Actually I’ve noticed many hang out with CEO’s from other franchises.

  160. Lea wrote:

    Milton Friedman had a quote about politics that “It’s nice to elect the right people, but that isn’t the way you solve things. The way you solve things is by making it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right things. ”

    Like the “Bring back the crook!” in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, referring to an infamous former governor. Sure, the guy was crooked, but after skimming 10% off the top the rest would go where it was needed. Kinda “the cost of doing business”.

    The Louisiana governor at the time (one of “the right people”) ended up doing nothing and then playing the “You’re all Sexist!” card when called on it. “Bring back the crook!”

    Another example was “Hinky Dink” McKenna, a Chicago alderman of about 100 years ago. On the take up to his eyebrows (ah, Chicago politics…), but known as “a man of his word”. Again, add 10% overhead for “cost of doing business” and once bought no funny stuff for more squeeze. Whenever Chi-town elected “the right people” (i.e. Moral Reformers), the Moral Reformers immediately fell into infighting over various Righteous Blue Laws and More Righteous Than Thou and never accomplished anything. Source for those: Gem of the Prairie by the same guy who wrote the original Gangs of New York.

  161. @ okrapod:
    NYT, has an article on how to build a bomb shelter! Hubby and me were thinking about getting some, handy dandy, solar panels. Did a complete kitchen redo two years ago…am definitely not the type to survive the apocalypse.

  162. Lea wrote:

    okrapod wrote:
    I had no backup plans.

    I have a friend with a less dramatic issue (kitchen redo) who is using an instapot to cook a lot of things.

    I’m considering a simple cabinet reface for my kitchen. The last time I had work done (a balcony replacement), it’s been five months and counting due to the City Building Department’s convenience. After that, I’m facing an uphill battle on the cabinet reface; does that need any sort of permits?

  163. Christiane wrote:

    a side note:
    “Gianforte and his wife, Susan, live in Bozeman, Montana, and together they have four children.[88] The Gianfortes attend Grace Bible Church, a nondenominational church in Bozeman”

    Grace Bible Church rang a bell ….. sure enough, looking at the church info was revealing of the place of women in said church

    And the WaPo reports that the Denver city council has lowered the penalty for the first two offenses of domestic *violence* to the same level as shoplifting. The explicit reason for doing this is so that illegal immigrants who commit two or fewer instances of domestic *violence* are protected from deportation. Hopefully all of the women (and men) subjected to domestic *violence* in those first two instances are not hurt too badly. Only “Repeated Domestic Violence” (more than 2x) is deemed important enough to warrant real jail time and makes the immigrants subject to deportation. In other words, all women (and men) in Denver have lost protection against domestic *violence* because of a political trend (regardless of which side of the trend one is on) and this is seen as a good thing. I do not understand how that is good for women, Christiane.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/05/24/denver-fights-back-against-trumps-deportation-crackdown-with-surprisingly-simple-change-in-law/?tid=sm_tw&utm_term=.6e3a35505ee6#comments

  164. Lea wrote:

    You need to make it so exposing a problem in your organization is good for you.

    Yes, that’s one key in the book Good to Great, as well. Be able to tell yourself the truth and face it is key to a healthy company and church. Toxic systems can’t deal with the truth and can’t fix it.

    Biblical history tells us that religious leaders will become self-serving. Over and over, prophets were necessary to give God’s message that justice and mercy for the lowest ranking in society is important to pleasing God.

  165. Sopwith wrote:

    This organization is well know for peddling Calvinist theology (TULIP) as the true gospel. They are a part of a Calvinist good ole boy network of other church groups such as Acts29, and para-church organizations such as Together 4 The Gospel (T4G) , CBMW, and 9Marks, which are peddling the same thing.

    Just Neo-Cal outfits Sopy? I think you’ll find a $#itload of non-calvinist places of worship that are just as abusive and dangerous to one’s mental and spiritual health.

  166. @ Janey:
    the children of Flint were given blood tests and had been poisoned with lead ….. they will suffer all of their lives from the results of that

    it wasn’t ‘neglect’ …. people at the top (state) wanted to ‘save money’ and cut off the good water from Flint so they had to draw from a river that contained chemicals that released corrosion in their old water pipes …..

    Rachel Maddow has followed the story from the beginning.

    The ‘tragedy’? Once known, the ‘state’ authorities would not authorize doing the right thing. So the children were poisoned ….

    reminds of the story of the land that, to save itself from the dragon, fed the dragon a sheep everyday….. until they ran out of sheep …. then they feed the dragon their children

    Flint, Michigan = an American tragedy that should never have happened except for greed to cut taxes for the rich:
    a whole American town poisoned, and the ‘state’ would then not fix what they had caused to happen to the town …. why?

    why?

  167. @ Gram3:
    In Boston last month two physicians were murdered during a robbery. Murderer had worked briefly at their condo in maintenance. Come to find out, the year before
    he’d been caught robbing a bank, but he was only given a 364 day sentence, anything longer would have subjected him to deportation.

  168. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Did the church info include a picture like the Handmaid’s Tale screencap that surfaced on either this thread or another of the recent ones?

    worse: it showed the ‘Board of Directors’ pictures: a line-up of all white males …. not a woman in the group, not even as a ‘token’

  169. @ Gram3:
    “Or can we say, “Let’s do evil so that good will come from it”? Some slander us and claim that this is what we say. They are condemned, and that’s what they deserve.” (Romans 3:8)

    when people get into situations where ‘it’s okay to do something wrong so that something worse doesn’t happen’, they come up against a ‘moral dilemma’ for sure;
    but exchanging one kind of evil to stop another kind seem ridiculous and short-sighted

    Your point is taken.
    I think we all in our lives come to be ‘tested’ by moral dilemmas, and we do the best we can;
    but we can’t knowingly sacrifice others in the process, no…. it doesn’t work that way

    my question is this:
    why are innocent people being deported while criminals are tolerated? Seems to me, something could be worked out for our young people who are not criminals who have lived here all their lives;
    but once a person commits a crime …. throw the bum out, YES !!!

  170. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    After that, I’m facing an uphill battle on the cabinet reface; does that need any sort of permits?

    I don’t know about permits in your town. I do know that if you do the work yourself and just don’t tell anybody then nobody will know. I don’t know what a cabinet reface is, but DIY for new cabinet doors ought to be doable.

  171. There’s a huge difference between a “shut up and do what you’re told” and “please don’t endlessly complain about your pastor’s natural shortcomings.”

    Reading Driscollology into Dorianis article just betrays the fact that to some people, anything written on the Gospel Coalition will be seen through a jaundiced eye, and when you complain about everything, at some point one can’t take any analysis seriously.

    Are you advocating for vocalizing and publicizing every weakness of every pastor, and then demeaning them for it? Cuz it sounds that way.

  172. “No church should expect its pastor(s) to excel in the prophetic, kingly, and priestly aspects of godly leadership.” (Dan Doriani)

    Well, this was not an expectation of the 1st century church! They expected to find godly leaders in place; and, if they weren’t, watchman would flag the charlatans for the church to deal with. However, it’s not a big surprise to discover this with 21st century church leaders. Anointed godly leaders today are rare and endangered species. Early pastors excelled in ministry to the Body of Christ because they were filled with the Spirit and were devoted to prayer and study of God’s Word. There’s not enough spiritual power in the average pulpit today to blow the dust off a peanut.

  173. Joe Reed wrote:

    Reading Driscollology into Dorianis article just betrays the fact that to some people, anything written on the Gospel Coalition will be seen through a jaundiced eye

    Or a knowing one, considering it has his DNA.

  174. Joe Reed wrote:

    There’s a huge difference between a “shut up and do what you’re told” and “please don’t endlessly complain about your pastor’s natural shortcomings.”

    Considering the guy spends half the article referencing Machiavelli, the first one seems to fit rather well.

  175. Nancy2 wrote:

    A few years ago, I knew something wasn’t right. I just couldn’t put my finger on it!

    My wife said the same thing a few days ago.

    There is a strange dynamic in SBC today. As you note, most national SBC leaders are now New Calvinists. They control nearly all SBC entities (seminaries, mission agencies, publishing house). However, most leaders at SBC’s 45,000+ churches are still non-Calvinist, as are millions of SBC members. Very strange days, as a minority takes over the majority without a whimper.

  176. @ Max:
    Max, help me out: that word ‘godly’, can you give me some synonyms please that work in the same context as the way you use ‘godly’

    thanks

  177. Christiane wrote:

    Max, help me out: that word ‘godly’, can you give me some synonyms please that work in the same context as the way you use ‘godly’

    “Spiritual” as opposed to carnal and fleshly. Flesh is on the throne in most America pulpits, not Spirit. Superficial reigns over a deep walk with God in both pulpit and pew.

  178. Christiane wrote:

    once a person commits a crime …. throw the bum out, YES !!!

    Agreed. The problem is that the Culture of Victimhood has created a problem because now there is competition among the victims. Domestic violence violence is outranked by illegal immigrants who commit domestic violence. Little girls are killed at a concert and pundits go on the air worrying about a backlash of bigotry against Islam which is currently a favored victim class. Nevermind that it is the pundits themselves who conflate political Islamism with Islam. It is insane, IMO. No one can speak the truth. Lawlessness with the endless legalism of Political Correctness.

  179. Max wrote:

    However, most leaders at SBC’s 45,000+ churches are still non-Calvinist, as are millions of SBC members. Very strange days, as a minority takes over the majority without a whimper.

    How do you know that? I have watched local SBC mega (claims 6,000 people) transition to calvinist and yet continue to grow. So, how could 6,000 people be totally non-calvinist before and be calvinist now with hardly a ruffle in the water at the transition? Well, I have some ideas, but I could be wrong. This church was the one that stayed ‘conservative’ while three other large local churches pulled out of SBC. This church has redesigned itself to appeal to one economic class higher than they did 30 years ago when I first moved to this town, and they did this intentionally under the pastor at the time. This church has positioned its school to appeal to the bunch who have the cash to send their kids to the most expensive colleges and universities in this state-or so the lists show at graduation each year. This church has one campus which is Spanish speaking-on a different campus-but the big campus is so lily white that it was apparent that my Chinese grandbabies were never going to ‘fit in’ when they all were going over there. SAHM is venerated as a lifestyle, singles are segregated from the general population in SS. and altar calls have been eliminated (too inclusive???).

    Here is my conclusion. And I believe that I am right, partly because I am always right of course (sarcasm). It is not about theology. It is about caste and class in a southern town. Remember that classic from yesteryear; a sociological study of that phenomenon by that title? I would put money on it that the vast majority of pew people could not launch one coherent argument either for or against any Calvinist doctrine. Or for that matter any other doctrine Calvinist or not. Quote a few bible verses, carry an electronic version of the ESV, understand little and care less. Clueless. I stake by last Reese’s Cup on it.

    But, they and their institution are good for the local economy, got to give them that.

  180. Joe Reed wrote:

    when you complain about everything, at some point one can’t take any analysis seriously.

    Well, that’s pretty much how the commenters view the articles like Doriani’s and many of the ones that appear at TgC and 9Marks. They complain endlessly about how difficult it is to be a pastor. That’s why it is difficult for the average pewpeon here to take them seriously.

  181. Gram3 wrote:

    Little girls are killed at a concert and pundits go on the air worrying about a backlash of bigotry against Islam which is currently a favored victim class.

    I think most responsible adults WOULD be concerned, knowing the depth of hatred in our world for marginalized people, yes. I don’t know your background, but if you are ever or ever have been in a situation where you are regarded shall we say as ‘different’, then you will find it can be a crucible.

    My father was an immigrant and I could tell you his stories; or I could tell you what it was like raising a Down Syndrome son in the old days before there was some reasonable understanding of what Down’s was all about.

    People are not always kind. No. As a matter of fact, any real ‘differences’ and the ones who crawl out of the woodwork can be, well, take a look:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCG6VQ4Y86A

    everyone either has a story, or knows someone who does;
    everyone is either concerned about the persecution of innocent people who are ‘different’;
    or they aren’t

    these days, with the disabled being persecuted by the 800 billion dollar cuts to Medicaid, nothing surprises me anymore

    I get your point. But I don’t understand you. I know from different.

  182. okrapod wrote:

    Here is my conclusion. And I believe that I am right, partly because I am always right of course (sarcasm). It is not about theology. It is about caste and class in a southern town … understand little and care less. Clueless. I stake by last Reese’s Cup on it.

    I’ll buy that Reese’s Cup for you! In my humble, but accurate, opinion, you are right! Most Southern Baptists (actually, most church folks) don’t give a whoop about theology as long as you give them what they want. I remember a news interview with Robert Schuler (Crystal Cathedral) years ago in which the reporter asked him what he credited the popularity of his ministry and growth of his church to. He replied that he simply canvassed the people in the community, asked them what they wanted in a church experience, and then proceeded to give that to them. Bill Hyblels(Willowcreek) essentially did the same thing with his “seeker-friendly” ministry.

    Most Southern Baptists could not explain non-Calvinist vs. Calvinist theology to you. But, if you mess with their potluck dinners, you’ll hear about it! The New Calvinists knew this about Southern Baptists; thus, the SBC has been easy pickins’ for a takeover.

  183. Max wrote:

    Most Southern Baptists could not explain non-Calvinist vs. Calvinist theology to you.

    Why not?

  184. Max wrote:

    Very strange days, as a minority takes over the majority without a whimper.

    Governments have been overthrown the same way.

  185. Gram3 wrote:

    They complain endlessly about how difficult it is to be a pastor

    The poor things are too busy blogging, attending conferences, and writing books to pastor.

  186. Nancy2 wrote:

    The poor things are too busy blogging, attending conferences, and writing books to pastor.

    And getting paid time off to do all of those things. Plus vacation time. To be clear, I am not talking about the many pastors who do *not* get all of these benefits. But those pastors are not the ones writing these articles and blogs complaining about the people who are funding their chosen lifestyle. Let them try earning a living in the real world with those kinds of benefits while getting only praise and adoration from subordinates. They could never survive.

  187. Christiane wrote:

    Why not?

    Part 1

    1. One reason is because they don’t care; it is not about theology. It is about the social politics of class. It is about being around like minded people with similar values. It is about having one’s children form friendships with kids from other families who have similar values and similar goals for their children. It is about making all sorts of contacts. It is about having an alternative sub culture where you don’t have to fear that the kids will pick up stuff you don’t agree with. It is about making friends who want the same things out of life that you want. It is about not having to explain all the time or listen to constant promotion of ideas with which you disagree, or tolerate endless and mindless bickering over minor religious positions.

    2. Because, and I say this all the time and I feel like I am talking into the wind, SBC Baptists have not been anti-calvinist in the past, they have been mostly non-calvinist. To people from outside the culture much Baptist thinking has always had a hint of sort-of-calvinism in various areas. So why would people see this Calvinist takeover as something totally alien when what it looks like is mostly just people taking their religion seriously; and some folks are way past ready for religion to be taken seriously-hence the conservative resurgence in the first place. Like in the human body’s immunological response system something has to be recognized as alien for the immune response to be triggered. NeoCal does not look all that totally foreign to me, and I dare say there are a lot of people who do not see it as all that different.

  188. @ okrapod:

    Part 2

    3. Because there is a whole lot going on in the culture and in the world right now to worry about, so who has time to worry about every little detail (doctrines that are only somewhat different) at church. It just is not on the top of a lot of people’s lists of things to be concerned about.

    4. Because some neo-cal ideas fit very nicely with some political ideas, so even if folks thought the church was going a bit too far they still would be apt to think that too far or not at least they were going in the right direction.

    As soon as I hit ‘post comment’ I will think of more, but for now enough is enough.

  189. okrapod wrote:

    3. Because there is a whole lot going on in the culture and in the world right now to worry about, so who has time to worry about every little detail (doctrines that are only somewhat different) at church. It just is not on the top of a lot of people’s lists of things to be concerned about.

    I personally don’t think doctrine is that important, at least not the little ticky things. I don’t even think communion differences are that important. So I have some sympathy for this view.

    I think there is a nicer way to see it than class related and I know Max loves to talk about the potlucks, but that social element, spending time with other Christians, growing up a certain way, is important to a lot of people. I don’t see that that’s wrong either.

    Where it goes wrong is when doctrine becomes more important than being kind and decent to each other, and this has apparently been a problem since the early church since we were warned against it.

  190. okrapod wrote:

    This church was the one that stayed ‘conservative’ while three other large local churches pulled out of SBC. This church has redesigned itself to appeal to one economic class higher than they did 30 years ago when I first moved to this town, and they did this intentionally under the pastor at the time.

    i.e. They deliberately became the Rich White Guys’ Church.

    Well, that should provide enough Tithes for Lead Pastor’s Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous…

  191. Lea wrote:

    Where it goes wrong is when doctrine becomes more important than being kind and decent to each other, and this has apparently been a problem since the early church since we were warned against it.

    It’s been a problem outside the church as well; “doctrine” can be any sort of ideology or rigid belief system, not necessarily a religious one.

  192. @ ishy:

    “Does anybody else ever get the feeling like TGC writers write some things just to see what they can get away with and how blind their followers are?”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    they seem to try to be provocative. certainly for the attention it brings them. but also, i think, to throw people off balance, for the disruption.

    i think of john piper… in trying to understand who in the world this ferret-with-power is, i’ve watched a good deal of video footage & looked at photos. there are a number of instances where i observe that he waits until the key moment when he has the audience’s attention in the palm of his hand — when he knows cameras are on him and waiting.

    and then he’ll say or do something out of proportion – something extreme, that makes him appear spiritual light years ahead of every other living soul — but more importantly, gives him that much more of a hold on power over people.

    isn’t that great. 😐

  193. Gram3 wrote:

    Agreed. The problem is that the Culture of Victimhood has created a problem because now there is competition among the victims.

    As in “Who’s the Most Victimized” one-upmanship?
    That’s commonly called “a race for the bottom”.

    And I can’t see anything good coming out of the resulting dynamics.
    Except lawyers’ incomes.

  194. Christiane wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    Did the church info include a picture like the Handmaid’s Tale screencap that surfaced on either this thread or another of the recent ones?

    worse: it showed the ‘Board of Directors’ pictures: a line-up of all white males …. not a woman in the group, not even as a ‘token’

    Can’t remember where I read this, but I once read a reference about a news item “Chrsitian Leaders Concerned About Moral Decline” that mentioned said Christian Leaders in the accompanying pic were ALL older grim-faced white men in expensive suits. (Baptized in Lemon Juice or Vinegar?) The commentary was “THAT is what has become the public face of the church”.

  195. Nancy2 wrote:

    Max wrote:
    Very strange days, as a minority takes over the majority without a whimper.

    Governments have been overthrown the same way.

    Empires fall when their people either get so fed up and/or beaten down (or both) that they just passively let it fall. The status quo has gotten so bad for them they don’t care any more and figure they have nothing to lose by taking a chance with those Barbarians coming over the walls. Or the Caesar staging the coup. “Couldn’t get any worse than it is now.”

  196. okrapod wrote:

    1. One reason is because they don’t care; it is not about theology. It is about the social politics of class. It is about being around like minded people with similar values. It is about having one’s children form friendships with kids from other families who have similar values and similar goals for their children. It is about making all sorts of contacts. It is about having an alternative sub culture where you don’t have to fear that the kids will pick up stuff you don’t agree with. It is about making friends who want the same things out of life that you want. It is about not having to explain all the time or listen to constant promotion of ideas with which you disagree, or tolerate endless and mindless bickering over minor religious positions.

    wow ….. that describes a social club, doesn’t it?
    I remember once reading about Candy Montgomery, the Wylie, TX ax murderess, whose life was centered around her Church;
    it didn’t stop her from having an affair with a member, and when confronted by the man’s wife about the affair, Candy killed her …. in self-defense, she said …. it was over-kill really.

    I remember thinking that the description of how the Church was the center that brought all these people together and it seemed so socially active …. I was fascinated by that feature because so little was mentioned about the theology of that Church. I don’t even know what denomination it was, Baptist, I think. Can’t remember. Just remembered the contrasts and how it seemed so strange that a Church could be the center of such a culture in that small town. Quite a story, yes. Candy? She got off. Oh she did it, and confessed, but they let her go free. Her victim: face all bashed in, many many ax blows, over forty. Pretty awful.

  197. Max wrote:

    The YRR church planters here love to call themselves “lead pastor” … even if they are the ‘only’ pastor at a church!

    You do know that the letters “L E A D” have TWO pronunciations in English, don’t you?
    Try the other one and see how it comes out.
    “GET THE ‘LEAD’ OUT!”

  198. Cousin of Eutychus wrote:

    In the military troops complaining is considered a somewhat healthy part of normal life. The time to be concerned is when everyone goes silent; that is when you need to watch your back as a leader and when unit discipline is about to go south.

    Because that is when critical mass has been reached and the mutiny is about to go down.

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Empires fall when their people either get so fed up and/or beaten down (or both) that they just passively let it fall. The status quo has gotten so bad for them they don’t care any more and figure they have nothing to lose by taking a chance with those Barbarians coming over the walls. Or the Caesar staging the coup. “Couldn’t get any worse than it is now.”

    Put the two above blockquotes together.

  199. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Calvin subscribed to Sola Scriptura. Yet he felt compelled to write this great, big, humongous, extra-biblical BOOK ‘splaining it all to us. Can someone tell me how that works?

    Well, logically speaking, no preacher actually believes in the sufficiency of scripture. You don’t need the Holy Spirit any more, but… you do still need my preaching? Er – no.

    Practically speaking, these ideas come about in large part because of what one is fighting against. So; we don’t need Popery – we just need scripture. Obviously, that very quickly grows arms and legs.

    For the record, I believe that two and two make either three or five, depending. But those of you who are properly educated and insightful will of course realise that I am not in any sense contradicting myself.

  200. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    i.e. They deliberately became the Rich White Guys’ Church.

    Well, that should provide enough Tithes for Lead Pastor’s Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous…

    It’s not restricted to rich white men. Anybody remember a certain rich black dude who talked his parishioners into footing the bill for a brand new Gulfstream jet aircraft?
    OOPS! did I cross the line? Am I in dutch for ‘systemic racism’?

  201. Nancy2 wrote:

    drstevej wrote:
    The solution: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this will all men know you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
    He repeats the command three times! We are hard of hearing.
    The apostle Paul uses the word “charity” …… He says that without out charity, we are nothing. Charity = love, compassion, agape.

    Introducing his great passage on agape/charity Paul said, “But if you are zealous for great gifts, I again shall show you a better way.”
    As we will see, philadelphia/brotherly love is also a better way.
    Doriani’s better way, on the other hand, is to try (and usually fail) to avoid criticizing pastors and to obey leaders.
    2 more “better way” aspects from the Bible:
    First, for leaders. The seminary professor MUST have heard that the term for “leaders” in Heb 13 isn’t the common one and means something a bit different. Paul, however, uses the ordinary term for leaders or leading in I Thess, I Tim, a variant in Titus, and in my recommended “better way” passage–Romans 12. In a recent excellent comment on TGC, Bryan quoted Paul, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. V10) Just before this, as with I Cor 12, Paul mentions varieties of gifts which are ours by grace through faith as members of Christ’s body. He specifies seven (not a an exhaustive list). Sadly churches tend to encourage members to exercise gift #5 (giving/generosity) to hire leaders to do all the other six. No wonder leaders can’t keep up or measure up. Notice that leading is only number 6 in the list- not necessarily more important than the other six.
    Now as for the pastors, who are NOT necessarily the same as leaders, the seminary professor must know they’re mentioned only once in the NT, in the Eph 4 passage he forgot to mention.
    And there we see they’re just #4 out of either 4 or 5 equipping gifts (depending on comma placement). They shouldn’t expect to be competent in the other 3-4. It’s possible also, again depending upon comma placement, that they should see themselves as equippers of the saints to be ministers, rather than being ministers themselves.
    Hope this is a positive contribution toward a better way, above and beyond my usual tendency to be critical and snarky.

  202. Nancy2 wrote:

    Gram3 wrote:
    They complain endlessly about how difficult it is to be a pastor
    The poor things are too busy blogging, attending conferences, and writing books to pastor.

    +1

  203. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Calvin subscribed to Sola Scriptura.

    The funny thing about Sola Scriptura is you won’t find it taught in the Bible. So the only way to take Sola Scriptura seriously is to reject it. Likewise, one has to reject the Bible itself because you cannot know which books are supposed to be in the Bible through Sola Scriptura. Without a divinely inspired table of contents, the Bible itself has to be rejected. The Bible is way too important to let it be whittled down to simple solas.

  204. Dave A A wrote:

    The seminary professor MUST have heard that the term for “leaders” in Heb 13 isn’t the common one and means something a bit different.

    My understanding is that it is not the same word as elders. Which makes it irrelevant when talking about submission to elder rule.

  205. Please stick away from political discussion and examples. 2 comments, while funny, were not approved.

  206. The reason for all the conflict is that Neo-Calvinist and other of their sort can’t grasp that thinking women are here to stay. It’s about power, control and a easy life. Most of these preachers are not of the creative type, they’ve never build anything. With that said they just hate to see the ship slipping away in the distance. Now, let me clarify what I am, way out there! I’m an autonomous agonistic christian…

  207. Christiane wrote:

    Most Southern Baptists could not explain non-Calvinist vs. Calvinist theology to you. (Max)

    Why not? (Christiane)

    Well, I hate to admit this, Christiane, since I have been hanging out with Southern Baptists for 60+ years. I have found them to be a very religious people, but spiritually destitute. Why? The average Southern Baptist doesn’t personally read the Word and pray as they ought; they don’t mature spiritually. They certainly have a grasp on the message of the Cross of Christ and the basics of “whosoever will” belief and practice … but they have not formed enough of a doctrinal foundation to debate the ails of New Calvinism.

  208. okrapod wrote:

    SBC Baptists have not been anti-calvinist in the past, they have been mostly non-calvinist.

    Agreed. As a 60+ year Southern Baptist, I can say that most non-Calvinist Southern Baptists don’t have a big problem with classical Calvinism – they have worshiped alongside each other for 150+ years. I have found “Old” Calvinists to be civil in their discourse and respectful of mainline Southern Baptist non-Calvinist belief and practice. Majority Southern Baptists would not be anti-Calvinist based on their experiences with the few Calvinist brethren in their midst. However, they should be anti-“New” Calvinist. It’s a totally different beast heading their way.

  209. __

    Da Life U ‘save’?…

    Muff Potter wrote:

    “Just Neo-Cal outfits Sopy? I think you’ll find a (ed. expletive) of non-calvinist places of worship that are just as abusive and dangerous to one’s mental and spiritual health…”

    Muff,

    HowDee!

    Shoot, I’ze juzz be’in pòlitē, and following our gracious blog queen’s blogpost leed! A short answer: Sure, there is a cornucopia of pastoral partial ‘brown’ waste matter being ‘dis-charg-ed’ into the body of Christ; —> pick a brand, pick a proverbial toxin?

    hmmm… (don’t get mè started…)

    [to late!]

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vx2u5uUu3DE

    Picture this:

    “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
    Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves
    be burdened again by a yoke of slavery…”
    — Apostle Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, 5:1

    Bump!

    “It seems that we have a need to create evangelical gurus, Christian celebrities, superpastors in megachurches, and miscellaneous ‘teachers’ and ‘experts’ that we place on pastoral pedestals. What is it about people, including evangelicals, that explains this apparent need for authority figures, the need to have s o m e o n e CO-SIGN for our lives?”  -Sociologist Ronald Enroth

    huh?

    Christians often do enter the 501(c)3 church of their ‘choice’ with a mental picture of lush, gentle hills, -being surrounded by other sheep placidly grazing on proverbial green pastures as knowledgeable, able, caring shepherd(s) watches over them; this church ‘viewed’ a tranquil place where people gather while well-equipped and loving shepherd(s) feed them spirit-ual-ly.

    BAaaaaaa!

    What?!?

    Actually, Wosh! many R getting flushed, or are simply leaving the church feeling hurt, abandoned, and possibly abused as well. They may be questioning their faith, the meaning of Christian fellowship, or even doubting the love and compassion of the God they devotedly serve.

    Blindsided?

    What’s happenening?

    * “In our homes, in our churches, and in our programs of Christian education, we must strive to cultivate ‘Critical, Discerning Minds’ if we are to [avoid] the tragedy of churches that abuse…” Dr. Ronald M. Enroth, (Churches That Abuse Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 1992, p. 206).

    Skreeeeetch !

    Q. CAN YOU IDENTIFY AN ABUSIVE CHURCH?

    * In paralleling abusive churches of the past with those of today, Dr. Enroth presents characteristics that may serve as warning signals:
    *
    * There is strong, control-oriented leadership.
    * The use of guilt, fear, and intimidation by the leadership to manipulate members and keep them in line.
    * Followers led to think that there is no other church quite like theirs, and that God has singled them out for a special purpose.
    * Other, more traditional churches are put down as being less “holy.”
    * Subjective experience, especially public or group testimonials (sometimes coached), are encouraged and emphasized.
    * Many areas of members’ lives are subject to scrutiny, and the church standards established are usually based upon the life-style adopted by the leader.
    * Rules and legalism abound.
    * Members not following rules established by the leadership (or threatening exposure of the manipulation and abuse) are often labeled “reprobates” or “dupes of Satan,” and are dealt with harshly. Ostracism of former members and excommunication of dissenters are common.
    * For members choosing to leave a spiritually abusive church, returning to the realm of normalcy may be difficult.

    **

    * Q. How Healthy is Your Church?
(The following questions come from the book: Recovering from Churches That Abuse, by Ronald Enroth, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan publishers, 1994.)

    * 1. Does a member’s personality generally become stronger, happier, more confident as a result of contact with the group?
    * In an abusive church, the use of guilt, fear, and intimidation to control members is likely to produce members who have a low self-image, who feel beaten down by legalism, who have been taught that asserting oneself is 
not spiritual. 
One of the first disturbing characteristics to be reported by relatives and friends of members of these churches is a noticeable change in personality,   usually in a negative direction. 


    * 2. Do members of the group seek to strengthen their family commitments?
    * Nearly all unhealthy churches attempt to minimize the commitments of their members to their family, especially parents. 
Young people may be told that they now have a new “spiritual” family, complete with leaders who will “re-parent” them. 
Church loyalty is seen as paramount, and family commitments are discouraged or viewed as impediments to spiritual advancement. 


    * 3. Does the group encourage independent thinking and the development of discernment skills?
    * Control-oriented leaders attempt to dictate what members think, although the process is so spiritualized that members usually do not realize what is going on. 
A pastor or leader is viewed as God’s mouth piece, and in varying degrees a member’s decision making and ability to think for oneself are swallowed up by the group. 
Pressure to conform and low tolerance for questioning make it difficult to be truly discerning. 


    * 4. Does the group allow for individual differences of belief and behavior, particularly on issues of secondary importance?
    * A legalistic emphasis on keeping rules and a focus on the need to stay within prescribed boundaries is always present in unhealthy spiritual environments. 
Lifestyle rigidity in such groups increase a member’s guilt feelings and contributes to spiritual bondage. This rigidity is often coupled with an emphasis on beliefs that would not receive great attention in mainstream 
evangelicalism. 


    * 5. Does the group encourage high moral standards both among members and between members and non members?
    * In intense, legalistic churches and religious organizations, the official, public proclamations usually place special value on high moral standards. 
In some instances, there is a double standard between those in leadership and those in the rank and file membership. 
Abusive churches tend to have incidents of sexual misconduct more often than most conventional churches; leaders sometimes exhibit an obsessive interest in matters relating to sex. 


    * 6. Does the group’s leadership invite dialogue, advice and evaluation from outside its immediate circle?
    * Authoritarian pastors are usually threatened by any outside expression of diverse opinions, whether from inside or outside the group. When outside speakers are given access to the pulpit, they are carefully selected to 
minimize any threat to the leadership’s agenda. 
Coercive pastors are fiercely independent and do not function well in a structure of accountability. 
For the sake of public relations, they may boast that they are accountable to a board of some sort, when in actuality the board is composed of “yes-men” who do not question the leader’s authority. 


    * 7. Does the group allow for development in theological beliefs?
Another hallmark of an authoritarian church is its intolerance of any belief system different from its own. 
They tend to measure and evaluate all forms of Christian spirituality according to their own carefully prescribed system, adopting an “us-versus-them” mentality. 

8. Are group members encouraged to ask hard questions of any kind?

    * 8. A cardinal rule of abusive systems is “Don’t ask questions, don’t make waves.” 
A healthy pastor welcomes even tough questions. In an unhealthy church disagreement with the pastor is considered to be disloyalty and is tantamount to disobeying God. 
People who repeatedly question the system are labeled “rebellious”, “unteachable”, or “disharmonious to the body of Christ”. 
Persistent questioners may face sanctions of some kind such as being publicly ridiculed, shunned, shamed, humiliated, or disfellowshiped. 


    * 9. Do members appreciate truth wherever it is found even if it is outside 
their group?
    * Whether they admit it or not, abusive churches tend to view themselves as spiritually superior to other Christian groups. 
This religious elitism allows little room for outside influences. There can be no compromise with external sources, who, the leadership will say, really don’t understand what is going on in the ministry anyway. 


    * 10. Is the group honest in dealing with nonmembers, especially as it tries to win them to the group?
    * Sometimes abusive groups illustrate a “split-level religion”. There is one level for public presentation and another for the inner circle of membership. 
The former is a carefully crafted public relations effort, the latter a reality level experienced only by the “true believers”. 
Recruitment tactics are usually intense, even if they are not actually deceptive or fraudulent, they can be manipulative or exploitive. 
Sometimes high pressure religious groups are evasive about there true identity: “We really don’t have a name, we’re just Christians.” 
A healthy Christian group should have no qualms about revealing who it is and what its intentions are. 


    * 11. Does the group foster relationships and connections with the larger society that are more than self-serving?
    * First impressions are not always correct. Sustained contact with an unhealthy church, however, will usually reveal a pattern that is consistent with the characteristics we have identified. 
Members will be requested to serve, to become involved, to sign up for a variety of activities that, upon closer inspection, appear to maintain the system and serve the needs of the leadership. 
Abusive churches thrive on tactics that promote dependency.
Emphasizing obedience and submission to leaders, these churches often require a level of service that is overwhelming to members, resulting in emotional turmoil and spiritual b r e a k d o w n s.
    *
    * https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=N8pra_FWdPc


    Conclusion: Spiritual abuse is certainly a stain on the body of Christ. Today, many American churches, and denominations are highly susceptible to it, particularly “de-form-ed” Calvinistic churches or THOSE with a highly disciplined authority structure. Spiritual abuse is subtle and not easily recognizable unless ONE knows what’s ta lōōk for. (The lit’l list above might help you to possibly DETECT, expose, and may help prevent abuse in your neck of Christian ‘pasture’…)

    Be Web Aware, Know the score, Be prepared, Take action, and Keep your widdle peepers on da good Lord’s Book.

    The ‘life’ you ‘save’ might beeeee ‘youze’ own…

    A.T.B.

    Sopy

  210. Max wrote:

    As a 60+ year Southern Baptist,

    Max

    I can’t remember the exact year, but I think it was 1979 and I was 10 years old and hadn’t yet walked the physical aisle, although I’m pretty sure I had already done so in my heart. Up to this point the church had been a strange mixture of superstition, fear, and pagent. It was an easy place for someone with a new heart to be overlooked; although there were enough people with a new heart to preserve the love and fellowship. Interestingly enough it was those folks who lovingly held their ground as what appeared to be stronger forces seemed destined to take control. Sitting there at 10, with a new pastor, I remember clearly the night that he sounded the alarm about the battle occurring within the convention and suggested that we send extra delegates to the convention that year because some people within the convention wanted to take it in a liberal direction. This was something our isolated little church knew nothing about and was definitely presented as a defensive move to preserve the status quo. Almost everything he said at that moment sounded logical, but something seemed off about the way it was being done. I believe that impressed that moment on my memory the way he has other, seemingly inconsequential, events over the years.

    I’ve revisited tis memory several times in the past two or three years as I’ve struggled to understand why people in the church can be somewhat united in thought without being united in spirit. I haven’t been part of a church in the last 30 years where there wasn’t a peaceful and organized effort to divide the fellowship into artificial and easily manageable units. It seems to me that that what many well meaning church folk did for good back then has been used by leaders of all factions to centralize control which has filtered down to individual churches.

    Without going into theological or political specifics, what was your impression of this movement when it was happening? Also, how long ago did your wife start to notice that something was off?

  211. scott hendrixson wrote:

    Without going into theological or political specifics, what was your impression of this movement when it was happening? Also, how long ago did your wife start to notice that something was off?

    Well, I don’t care for theo-politics, so won’t go into specifics … but need to refer to certain aspects of that time in theo-political terms in order to answer your question.

    You refer to the “Conservative Resurgence”, which was cast at the time as necessary to stop the liberal drift within SBC seminaries and some churches. Bible inerrancy was the rally cry. As a firm believer in inerrancy of Scripture, I felt that the CR was a noble cause … even though I cringed at the unkind words and actions of SBC leaders to deal with those they labeled as liberal or moderate in belief and practice. I don’t think that CR leaders realized at the time that forces were operating behind the scenes to merge the “Conservative” Resurgence into a “Calvinist” Resurgence (except Al Mohler, of course). The same CR strategies employed by non-Calvinist leaders to purge the denomination of liberals have been used by the New Calvinists to wrest control of the denomination away from SBC’s majority non-Calvinists.

    When did my wife first notice that something was off? My wife has been a Christian for about 40 years. She came to faith in Christ reading the New Testament before she ever attended a church. She was disappointed when she did go to church, expecting it to be like the one she discovered in the New Testament. So, she has always felt that something was off! But in regard to New Calvinism, she sensed that things were amiss in SBC ranks about the year 2000, a few years before we both realized that the SBC had made a turn toward New Calvinism.

  212. Max wrote:

    They certainly have a grasp on the message of the Cross of Christ and the basics of “whosoever will” belief and practice … but they have not formed enough of a doctrinal foundation to debate the ails of New Calvinism.

    seems to me that ‘Christ and Him Crucified’ would be the BEST doctrinal foundation of all; but I think I understand something of what you are saying. When I went to Baptist blogs to learn more about my grandmother’s faith, I found that when I needed clarification, it was not readily forth-coming and there were times when my questions were met with ‘you should know this’ (I didn’t, which is why I asked), and there seemed some impatience with my questions, yes. After a while, I got it that there didn’t seem to be ONE solid comprehension of ‘Who Christ was’ and ‘the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit’ but there seemed to be different points of view regarding these ancient doctrinal themes. So I began to try to be more patient myself and more grateful for every opportunity to learn a little more, if not from the ‘doctrinal’ core, then from the way that people had personally experienced their relationship with Our Lord in their lives, which is something of a REAL lesson in what grace is all about. 🙂

  213. @ scott hendrixson:

    “…struggled to understand why people in the church can be somewhat united in thought without being united in spirit.

    I haven’t been part of a church in the last 30 years where there wasn’t a peaceful and organized effort to divide the fellowship into artificial and easily manageable units.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    do you mean divided into units like mens group, womens group, marrieds group, singles group, various co-ed small group bible studies, and all the other sorting categories for groups?

    “easily manageable” = as in controlling the food for thought? as well as the thought?

  214. Dave A A wrote:

    The seminary professor MUST have heard that the term for “leaders” in Heb 13 isn’t the common one and means something a bit different.

    There are lots of things that seminary professors write that they cannot possibly actually believe if they have passed freshman logic. I think they rely upon the rest of us not having passed freshman logic. They also must think that we lack any reading comprehension skills. Or else they lack reading comprehension skills. Not sure which it is. Then there is Piper which is a whole other thing when it comes to comprehension.

  215. Max wrote:

    she sensed that things were amiss in SBC ranks about the year 2000, a few years before we both realized that the SBC had made a turn toward New Calvinism.

    I noticed it in the face of R. Albert Mohler, up close. That look does not have a name, AFAIK, but it said to me “I am the king” and from that point I knew something was wrong. I have since discovered that others have had the exact same reaction. At the same time, other people were totally mesmerized. So there you have it. Cult of personality.

    The same thing happens with others like CJ Mahaney or Mark Dever or Mark Driscoll when he was a thing. Movements built around personalities. Intense personal loyalty which determines whether one is inside or outside the “faith.” At the local megachurch, the personality is the pastor, but it is the same dynamic.

  216. Gram3 wrote:

    freshman logic…reading comprehension

    I just bought an introductory course in formal logic from the Great Courses for my oldest grand kid. I decided to listen to the lectures first, because who knows what all has changed since I was i school, and there is always stuff to be learned.

    So, sure enough, intro lecture the man is talking about sociological and scientific research and here is one interesting take away. Humans are not hard wired to be rational (think logically) but we think we are, and we even build civilizations on the belief that we are rational by nature. Homo sapiens after all. Not so. Experiment after experiment shows that not only are we not rational, we hide that from ourselves, make decisions based on other motivations, and then retroactively construct ‘reasons’ for why we have done what we have done.

    Not only that, even though logic can be learned, and even though a given person may have identified in himself some propensity for a specific logical error, it makes no matter. We continue to step in the same hole again and again without realizing what we are doing.

    He said that this of course raises the issue of so called free will, but that he was not going there in these lectures. All of which is something that neuroscience has been saying for some time now. So, not only do we do this, but also I have seen other studies that say we have actual brain images showing us doing it.

    So, no, I do not hold the calvinists or anybody else to any expectation of a natural tendency to be rational.

  217. okrapod wrote:

    So, no, I do not hold the calvinists or anybody else to any expectation of a natural tendency to be rational.

    But I do hold professors with advanced degrees to that expectation. Though I suspect logic is no longer required of freshmen. Ordinary humans are easily manipulated. Please do not ask me how I know that or why.

  218. okrapod wrote:

    Experiment after experiment shows that not only are we not rational, we hide that from ourselves, make decisions based on other motivations, and then retroactively construct ‘reasons’ for why we have done what we have done.

    Yes, that’s how I do it. 🙂

  219. @ okrapod:

    “Humans are not hard wired to be rational (think logically) but we think we are, and we even build civilizations on the belief that we are rational by nature. Homo sapiens after all. Not so. Experiment after experiment shows that not only are we not rational, we hide that from ourselves, make decisions based on other motivations, and then retroactively construct ‘reasons’ for why we have done what we have done.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    other motivations…. like self-preservation? survival instinct? but i’d expect that to be rational… all in all, interesting subject matter.

  220. Lea wrote:

    okrapod wrote:
    I had no backup plans.
    I have a friend with a less dramatic issue (kitchen redo) who is using an instapot to cook a lot of things.
    But on the survivalist front, I think some people are more wired to planning for and worrying about disasters than others. But there are some things you will never be prepared enough to handle!

    When we were having our bathroom and kitchen renovated (it took about 8 days), I used the woods behind our house for you-know-what. A couple days I stayed with my daughter. It is what it is.

  221. Joe Reed wrote:

    There’s a huge difference between a “shut up and do what you’re told” and “please don’t endlessly complain about your pastor’s natural shortcomings.”
    Reading Driscollology into Dorianis article just betrays the fact that to some people, anything written on the Gospel Coalition will be seen through a jaundiced eye, and when you complain about everything, at some point one can’t take any analysis seriously.
    Are you advocating for vocalizing and publicizing every weakness of every pastor, and then demeaning them for it? Cuz it sounds that way.

    How about when the fella, Dorianis in this case, calls fellow Christians “subordinates?” Is that acceptable to you?

  222. Gram3 wrote:

    I noticed it in the face of R. Albert Mohler, up close. That look does not have a name, AFAIK, but it said to me “I am the king” and from that point I knew something was wrong. I have since discovered that others have had the exact same reaction. At the same time, other people were totally mesmerized. So there you have it. Cult of personality.

    Indeed, the New Calvinist movement is a cult of personality. Your gut-feel about Pope Mohler’s look was the Holy Spirit prompting you that something was amiss. Count it all joy that you escaped his trance! Those who have been mesmerized by the man have been bewitched. New Calvinism is a spell that has been cast over the Southern Baptist Convention, and few discern it for what it is.

  223. okrapod wrote:

    So why would people see this Calvinist takeover as something totally alien when what it looks like is mostly just people taking their religion seriously; and some folks are way past ready for religion to be taken seriously-hence the conservative resurgence in the first place…… NeoCal does not look all that totally foreign to me, and I dare say there are a lot of people who do not see it as all that different.

    And this brings me to a couple of questions. While I hear all this uproar about the way women are treated in SBC churches, I wonder: Weren’t women treated with prejudice prior to the Calvinist take-over? In other words, did women really have that much respect and in put in the SBC churches prior to the Calvinistas? From what I understand (and I could be wrong), women really weren’t treated all that well or entrusted with much responsibility in the SBC even prior to the Calvinist take-over. If my understanding is wrong, I’m willing to be corrected.

    Also, when I hear about folks (disillusioned SBCers) talk about “all white” deacons/pastors, and all white churches in all white neighborhoods, I must ask: Wasn’t the church culture, and by extension, the SBC church culture, racially segregated even prior to the Calvinist take-over? Where were all the SBC churches in the South during the Civil Rights Marches and the injustices that were taking place toward Blacks – esp. back in the sixties and prior?

    I believe that the New Calvinist are taking over in many areas, but I have to ask: With regard to the two issues above, sexism and racism – didn’t these things exist in the SBC long before the Calvinista resurgence? If the answer is yes (and that is the way I see it), then why put all the blame on the Calvinists?

  224. Max, Gram3, Nancy2, Mot….any others that were/are Southern Baptists. Could one (or more than one) of you respond to my question above regarding sexism and racism in the SBC before the Calvinist take-over? It would be nice to get a point of view from insiders. Thanx. 😉

  225. Darlene wrote:

    Max, Gram3, Nancy2, Mot….any others that were/are Southern Baptists. Could one (or more than one) of you respond to my question above regarding sexism and racism in the SBC before the Calvinist take-over? It would be nice to get a point of view from insiders. Thanx.

    Fro my little corner of the world, the extreme sexism began with the Conservative Resurgence, not the Calvinistas.

  226. Ken F wrote:

    My understanding is that it is not the same word as elders. Which makes it irrelevant when talking about submission to elder rule.

    And something anyone who thinks of himself as a leader should be careful to use properly.

  227. Gram3 wrote:

    Or else they lack reading comprehension skills. Not sure which it is.

    Laziness? This guy describes some really important issues/problems and then for his “better way” he puts in no effort at all to research what the Bible, theologians, social scientists, or historians say about them. instead, he just pulls Hebrews 13 from the top of his mind and throws it out there hoping it’ll stick, and maybe more sheeple will just obey more better, already.

  228. Darlene wrote:

    Max, Gram3, Nancy2, Mot….any others that were/are Southern Baptists. Could one (or more than one) of you respond to my question above regarding sexism and racism in the SBC before the Calvinist take-over? It would be nice to get a point of view from insiders. Thanx.

    Darlene, I posted a couple of comments on TWW’s post “The Founders” in this regard. Racism played a critical role in the founding of the SBC prior to the Civil War, as “Southern” Baptists attempted to defend their right to hold slaves. It took the SBC 150 years to corporately repent of that sin by issuing a racial reconciliation resolution at its annual meeting (1995). It should be noted that there are now approximately 4,000 African American SBC churches. Sure, there are remnants of racism still alive in some SBC churches, particularly in the South – old sins die hard.

    I don’t see the Neo-Cals as racist. In fact, they don’t like “Southern” in the SBC denominational name for that reason. In my area, SBC-YRR churches are more multiracial than the average traditional church. You seldom see an SBC-YRR church plant listing their affiliation with SBC (even though the young reformers gladly accept SBC church planting funds).

    Regarding sexism, I agree with Nancy2’s response to you. While Southern Baptist belief and practice have kept women out of leading roles in church, the New Calvinist movement has put a whole new spin on subordinating female believers. In my 60+ years as a “traditional” Southern Baptist, I have seen women in every church position, except pastor or deacon. In Neo-Cal ranks, they are controlled, intimidated, and silent.

  229. Darlene wrote:

    believe that the New Calvinist are taking over in many areas, but I have to ask: With regard to the two issues above, sexism and racism – didn’t these things exist in the SBC long before the Calvinista resurgence? If the answer is yes (and that is the way I see it), then why put all the blame on the Calvinists?

    Excellent observation. I was SBC prior to the conservative resurgence, late 1930s to mid 1970s. As to when the current animosity toward and control of women started, either with the resurgence or with the calvinism, I cannot comment. But I was there before the resurgence. I was already grown and married with kids when I left SBC, and that was shortly before the resurgence. So-I spoke that Baptist dialect with a native accent and I was old enough then to comment on it now.

    Racism then was segregation. At the risk of going too far let me say that most people did not despise people of other races, but distinctions were made between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ based on cultural attitudes and personal behavior in the areas of education, stable marriages, law abiding or not, willing to work on the job or not, runs one’s own business or not, goes to church or not–in other words and IMO there was culture-ism which often played out along racial lines in people’s minds. Now, was there some of the other stuff left over from the old days-of course there was. But the majority of the white population was not like that. Evidence for this is the fact that the majority of the white population did not oppose the civil rights movement like some people like to portray them, but they were unconscionably silent at the time which is just about as bad.

    As to the women’s issue. Max has said it specifically as I saw and experienced it. There was no path to the pulpit or to the board of deacons for women, but women held both jobs (paid jobs) and volunteer jobs in which they had a lot of both influence and self-determination. I never, listen now, never heard a word in SS or from the pulpit about keeping women in their place. Women taught SS, ran the VBS program, managed the BTU program, served as SS Directors, served as camp counselors, wrote articles, were employed by the Long Run Association (Louisville), ran the WMU which was a money raising organization for missions as well as a missions education organization, went to school to be missionaries and were appointed missionaries, and preacher’s wives openly joked about writing their husband’s sermons. Mostly it was women who played the piano and the organ and were sometimes the minister of music. Or like one nurse I knew at the hospital claimed that she did the Greek homework for her SBTS student husband; nobody thought that odd.

    When people try to push the idea that the 40s and 50s were bad times for women, they have listened too much to what people say and they were not there. I think they are at least partly being manipulated by people with political agendas. During the war women worked in the factories and hospitals and schools and retail and ran the far and whatever because the men were gone-just like during the civil war. Except by WW II they drove trucks and flew planes. Nobody forgot that, and even though most women went home and had kids after the war the nation did not go back to any pre-war oppression of women like some people may want to believe. Now, were there women who played the poor little helpless me and the you great big wonderful you-man game? They did so by choice, however, and in no way that I ever encountered was that seen as anything but silly and manipulative. The women I encountered in health care and education and who worked in Dad’s legal office and at church were competent and respected (and sometimes feared).

    We have the anti-feminism backlash and the neo-cals to thank for what we are seeing in some quarters now.

  230. Darlene wrote:

    Max, Gram3, Nancy2, Mot….any others that were/are Southern Baptists. Could one (or more than one) of you respond to my question above regarding sexism and racism in the SBC before the Calvinist take-over? It would be nice to get a point of view from insiders. Thanx.

    I’m going to write this before I read what others write, so apologies in advance for repetition. Clearly racism and sexism pre-dated the YRR and the CR in the SBC. But that is beside the point, IMO. Those are separate issues because both sexism and racism were part of the ambient culture of the time. As the culture became liberalized with respect to women’s rights and civil rights, there were reactions in the churches which were both good and not so good. In one SBC church where I was a member, the pastor faced a mutiny over his decision to marry a white young female member to a black young man who was not a member. Both young people had credible testimonies and their parents gave their blessing. This was in the late 60’s. The church did not fall apart and the sky did not fall, but that was an exceedingly rare thing.

    Women had essentially parallel ministries which they ran fairly independently. There was none of the odious subordination or rebellious-by-nature teaching. It was just accepted that men are the preachers. In the seventies, that thinking began to be challenged, but not in the conservative churches where I was a member. And that is how I remember the issues being framed for the conservative vs. liberal battle in the SBC. Is the Bible true or isn’t it? Unfortunately, a lot of issues became conflated at that time which made it impossible to have a reasonable discussion. I plead guilty for conflating at least two of these.

    When it comes to racism, I think that the church has been as racist as the culture at large, regrettably. I think that the recent emphasis by the Calvinistas on what they call racial reconciliation is a cynical ploy to appeal to the sensibilities of Millennials and nothing more. In other words, it has been poll-tested among Millennials. It makes no sense to teach that Jesus’ blood has bought reconciliation between the races but not between the sexes.

    The short of it is when someone is seeking to divide, it is the work of the Evil One. When someone is seeking to reconcile, it is the work of the Holy Spirit. The Calvinistas have been seeking to conquer by dividing.

    I hope that was helpful.

  231. Gram3 wrote:

    It makes no sense to teach that Jesus’ blood has bought reconciliation between the races but not between the sexes.

    In the Body of Christ, there should be no division by race, class or gender. None should be subordinated – we are to treat one another as more important than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). “All of you who were baptized ‘into’ Christ have put on the family likeness of Christ. Gone is the distinction between Jew and Greek, slave and free man, male and female — you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:27-28). To establish distinctions in the Body is to not bear a family resemblance to Jesus.

  232. Max wrote:

    To establish distinctions in the Body is to not bear a family resemblance to Jesus.

    If we all try to look like Jesus, we are going to end up looking like each other in all the important ways, and then the unimportant ways won’t matter anyway. Won’t be very good for business, though.

  233. Max wrote:

    In the Body of Christ, there should be no division by race, class or gender. None should be subordinated – we are to treat one another as more important than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). “All of you who were baptized ‘into’ Christ have put on the family likeness of Christ. Gone is the distinction between Jew and Greek, slave and free man, male and female — you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:27-28). To establish distinctions in the Body is to not bear a family resemblance to Jesus.

    When Jesus said, “Love thy neighbor as thyself”, he didn’t expound on divisions between race or gender!

  234. Gram3 wrote:

    If we all try to look like Jesus, we are going to end up looking like each other in all the important ways, and then the unimportant ways won’t matter anyway. Won’t be very good for business, though.

    If I can get you to look like Calvin, you will buy my book about him, attend my conference, and support my ministry!

  235. The 5/28 update asks if anyone noticed the advertisements in the TGC comments. Mine currently has ads showing Ellen kissing a man.

  236. Gram3 wrote:

    I think they rely upon the rest of us not having passed freshman logic. They also must think that we lack any reading comprehension skills.

    I think they rely on thought stopping, primarily. You are not allowed to think otherwise. They throws logic and reading comprehension out the window, because ‘biblical’.

  237. okrapod wrote:

    we hide that from ourselves, make decisions based on other motivations, and then retroactively construct ‘reasons’ for why we have done what we have done.

    I don’t know if you’re still reading, but there is a book apparently that uses the imagery of the elephant and the rider. The elephant goes (mentally) where it goes and the rider is the PR person, that makes the reasons up sometimes that fit what the elephant has decided (forgive me if this is simplifying, there is a book but I haven’t read it). Anyway, I find that a good way to think about it sometimes.

  238. This is a massive problem, true pastors, the ones who fit the biblical paradigm, the ones who seldom take the stage or put on airs, the ones who just serve others quietly without thought of repayment and stay clear of the spotlight, book deals, wealth and glory, are often wounded by abusive church members, often led by those at the helm of the abusive church, the ones who call themselves “pastor” but often fail to fit any biblical description short of “superapostle”, “snake”, or “whitewashed tomb”.

    Churches do often wound their pastors, it’s just that the ones who call themselves “pastor” and write articles crying about how pitifully abused they are are simply not pastors at all, they are their tormentors.

  239. Janey wrote:

    Tip: Don’t try to change a church. (Many of us have tried.) Just vote with your feet. You can’t fix an institution; but God holds you responsible for protecting your family’s emotional and spiritual health from cold and vicious leaders.

    Unless one hears clearly from the Lord that they are to stay put, and I mean clearly, I agree entirely. The best place for an abusive church is your rearview mirror as you drive away never to return. Life’s too short, there are people out there who actually are seeking Jesus, do wish to serve, do love others, and are not interested in propping up a king to impart wisdom to them each Sunday, a person should go find those people and quit wasting their time trying to change a system that is designed to destroy true fellowship.

  240. This is a ‘thank you’ to all who answered my question about racism/sexism in the SBC prior to the Calvinista take-over.

  241. Dave A A wrote:

    . instead, he just pulls Hebrews 13 from the top of his mind and throws it out there hoping it’ll stick, and maybe more sheeple will just obey more better, already.

    “I Know I’m Right —
    I HAVE A VERSE!”

  242. I haven’t read all the comments yet, but I did notice that some have suggested not trying to change an unhealthy church. That’s a great point, as it’s very hard to do. But there’s also another option, which was my approach to my rector’s shunning and abuse, which is to make yourself scarce, but call him out for all the world to see. Granted, my anger sometimes has come to the fore, and as a result things that I should have done differently. But now there’s enough information out there for people to consider whether there is another side to him–one that they wouldn’t otherwise see.

    In my case, going public certainly caused me a lot of pain and anxiety. But given that my rector’s actions already were having that effect, fighting back actually eased my suffering, and I’ve now gotten to a better place. If nothing else, I am going to be much more cautious before ever making a major investment of time and energy in a church, regardless of how much I like the people, the worship, etc.